Beam Suntory Elevates Global Communications & Public Affairs Leadership Roles

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Beam Suntory Elevates Global Communications & Public Affairs Leadership Roles


Industry veteran Zsoka McDonald joins company in newly created role, Brett Hale expands remit


CHICAGO, June 21, 2022 – Beam Suntory, a world leader in premium spirits, has named Zsoka McDonald as Chief Communications Officer and Brett Hale as Chief Public Affairs officer, to support the company’s premiumization agenda, focused on driving long-term, sustainable growth through consumer centricity, quality craftsmanship, immersive storytelling and executional excellence.

McDonald, an industry veteran, joins Beam Suntory in this newly-created role overseeing all global internal, external and sustainability communications as well as brand PR for the company.  Hale, who has led Public Affairs for the company since joining in 2016, has been promoted to Chief Public Affairs Officer.  In this expanded global role, Hale will also advise parent company Suntory Holdings of Japan on geopolitical and market-access issues.

“As we pursue our ambitious growth goals, these talented leaders will play a critical role in setting our brands and business up for success as we communicate and engage with stakeholders on issues critical to our industry,” said Clarkson Hine, SVP-Corporate Communications & Public Affairs. “These senior leadership appointments demonstrate the important role of corporate affairs and communications at Beam Suntory, and Brett and Zsoka bring the leadership and experience that will help take our capabilities to the next level.”

McDonald, who held a series of communications roles at Diageo during her 15 years at the company, has extensive experience in promoting, protecting and enhancing corporate reputation in highly regulated sectors.  Most recently, she served as Chief Sustainability Officer & Senior Vice President, Corporate Communications at AVANGRID, a publicly-traded clean energy company where she led all aspects of corporate reputation, brand, external and internal communications, and established the company’s sustainability organization and ESG strategic direction.

During his tenure at Beam Suntory, Hale has made a meaningful impact in elevating and promoting Beam Suntory’s global public affairs interests. Prior to Beam Suntory, Hale served as Vice President of public affairs for Yum! Brands, Senior Vice President of Corporate Affairs at Churchill Downs, and Vice President of the American Gaming Association. He additionally served in a number of legislative roles in Washington, D.C., including as Chief of Staff for then U.S. Rep. Ed Whitfield (R-KY).


McDonald and Hale report to Hine.  McDonald is based in New York City and Hale remains based in Kentucky.


About Beam Suntory

As a world leader in premium spirits, Beam Suntory inspires human connections. Consumers from all corners of the globe call for the company’s brands, including the iconic Jim Beam® and Maker’s Mark® bourbon brands and Courvoisier® cognac, as well as world renowned premium brands including Basil Hayden®, Knob Creek®, and Legent™ bourbon; Yamazaki®, Hakushu®, Hibiki® and Toki™ Japanese whisky; Teacher’s, Laphroaig® and Bowmore® Scotch whisky; Canadian Club® whisky; Hornitos® and Sauza® tequila; EFFEN®, Haku® and Pinnacle® vodka; Sipsmith® and Roku™ gin; and On The Rocks Premium Cocktails.


Beam Suntory was created in 2014 by combining the world leader in bourbon and the pioneer in Japanese whisky to form a new company with a deep heritage, passion for quality, innovative spirit and vision of Growing for Good, which now includes its transformative sustainability strategy, Proof Positive. Headquartered in Chicago, Illinois, Beam Suntory is a subsidiary of Suntory Holdings Limited of Japan. For more information on Beam Suntory, its brands, and its commitment to social responsibility, please visit and

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