Ed Pilkington

Chief Marketing and Innovation Officer, Diageo North America

Ed Pilkington

As Chief Marketing and Innovation Officer for Diageo North America, Ed oversees marketing and innovation for Diageo’s full portfolio of spirits and beer across the United States and Canada. In his role, Ed spearheads brand marketing strategies for brands including Smirnoff, Don Julio, Ketel One, Johnnie Walker, Crown Royal, Guinness and Bulleit, and works closely with brand leaders to create breakthrough campaigns that connect with audiences across North America.

As a visionary leader, Ed loves building brands and empowering and developing talented teams to stand in the future, take risks and always be close to the consumer. He has a skill for identifying and responding to cultural trends, while also knowing how to appeal to the ever evolving.  All this has been sharpened by more than 25 years of industry experience.

Passionate about creativity, commercial effectiveness and embracing technological change, Ed is passionate about building spirits and beer brands that are rooted in culture. A recent example of this was Diageo’s partnership with HBO’s “Game of Thrones” and the introduction of Johnnie Walker’s White Walker limited release whiskey.

During the COVID-19 period, Diageo brands pivoted quickly under Ed’s leadership, with creative work on brands like Guinness, Bulleit and Crown Royal that was relevant for the time and that supported communities in need - notably bartenders and the hospitality industry. 

Ed is a huge believer in the role innovation can play in growing and transforming brands and, from his European days, he is especially proud of the launches of Gordon’s Pink Gin and Hop House 13 lager from Guinness, both making a material impact on the business. The US innovation agenda that Ed oversees is ambitious and exciting. 

Ed is passionate about the role brands can play in culture and society and has appeared at marquee events, including Forbes CMO Summit, AdWeek, MarketingWeek Live and the BRITE Conference. He has spoken on extensive industry topics, including creating innovative marketing experiences and how they are shifting consumer behavior and trends; the role brands play in society right now; disruptive marketing; how innovation can drive change; and why creating a team culture is vital for brands to succeed.

In addition to his role as CMO, Ed is the proud sponsor of the North America Business Resource Group chapter of the Rainbow Network supporting Diageo’s LGBTQ+ employees to ensure Diageo is an employer that respects, values and embraces the talents and contributions of the greater LGBTQ+ community.

Ed started his career at Diageo as an Assistant Country Manager, overseeing distributors for Guinness across the Caribbean market. He’s since held a variety of roles within Diageo, including Marketing Director for Australia, Marketing and Innovation Director for Latin America and Global Category Director for Vodka, Rum and Gin. Prior to his current role, Ed was CMO for Diageo Europe.

In addition to his diverse career at Diageo, Ed has worked as a Senior Brand Manager for L’Oreal. He moved to North America in 2018 and is currently based in New York City – a lover of all sport and a lifelong Manchester City Soccer fan.