Co-Founder & Co-CEO
James has a proven track record in developing and leading communications programs for consumer brands, including strategic partnerships, brand positioning, corporate communications, public relations and social media.
James joined William Grant & Sons, Inc. (WGS) as Director of Public Relations in 2008. In this role, he oversaw public relations, digital and corporate communications programming for the storied award-winning distiller and sales organization, which produces and markets some of the world’s highest quality and most successful spirits brands including Glenfiddich Single Malt Scotch Whisky, The Balvenie Single Malt Scotch Whisky, Hendrick’s Gin, and Sailor Jerry Spiced Rum. James oversaw the communications programs for individual brands while supporting the Executive team on messaging and positioning for the company, including strategic partnerships and sponsorships, Executive speaking engagements, and internal communications. Highlights of James’ tenure include leading the multi-year sponsorship of the successful documentary Hey, Bartender which chronicles the rise of craft cocktail culture in the USA, maximizing a multi-year partnership with Worth Magazine and its Wealth Advisors Summit program, garnering an exponential increase in brand building PR results for the unparalleled portfolio of premium spirits brands, and bringing together the PR, Social and Ambassador teams for more integrated communications programming.
Prior to joining WGS, James ran the Food, Wine & Spirits Division at Susan Magrino Agency (2003-2008) as Vice President. James and his team delivered groundbreaking lifestyle press results and strategic partnerships for clients including celebrity chefs and restaurants, consumer products, wines and spirits, publishing projects, personalities, and other hospitality clients. Highlights included introducing Gordon Ramsay to the US with the launch of his first high end restaurant and biography, the opening of Le Cirque at its new home in the Bloomberg Center, the launch of TurboChef high speed gourmet oven through events with Charlie Trotter, Ted Allen and Kim Cattrall, the launch of the Bedell Cellars artist label wine series, production and programming for the Moet M Lounge, and the launch of the Michelin Guide in the USA. Beyond culinary, James also led programs for clients including Preston Bailey WeddingMoons for Sandals Resorts, the reopening of the Fontainebleau hotel, and the Push Button House for illy Caffe. Other clients included Dom Perignon, Veuve Clicquot, Ruffino, The Cove at Atlantis, Stuff Magazine and Lorraine Bracco Wines.
Other agency experience includes Lisa Lori Communications, Yazdan & Fields, and M. Young Communications as well as freelance consulting work. Clients included Bon Appetit Magazine, Conde Nast Traveler Readers’ Choice Awards, Wines from Spain, Glengoyne and The Glenrothes Single Malt Scotch Whiskies, New York Convention & Visitors Bureau, Maison Louis Jadot, Cutty Sark, Symrise Fragrance and Flavor House, Ellen Tracy, Frederick’s of Hollywood, Parmigiani Fleurier luxury timepieces, The James Beard Foundation, and more.
James has been a member of the BizBash Advisory Board, Fragrance Foundation Fifi Awards committee, James Beard Foundation Awards committee, and GenArt.
James graduated from Rutgers College in 1996, completed the Windows on the World Wine School, and holds a certificate from the Institute of Leadership & Management. James developed and led workshops at WGS (throughout the Americas) to train the organization on the ever evolving world of public relations and digital communications, and how to maximize ROI.