Quick-fire Q&A with Francois Portier

Francois Portier joined Bacardi’s global team in August 2004, as the Commercial Director of Bacardi France, where he worked to develop their portfolio and market share in various channels. In 2011 he led the Danish market, before joining the Middle East and Africa team, where he successfully launched Bacardi’s Customer Marketing Department in Dubai. Portier headed the development of the Bacardi business in South Africa and Kenya, and recently took on the responsibility of leading the Sub-Saharan African markets. Francois is also leading the South & East Africa Bacardi Martini, from the Johannesburg head office in South Africa.

Describe your leadership style?
I always put the team first before individuals, as decisions and actions have to be decided by the team. My role is to assist my team and encourage then to consider all options and make decisions. To prepare for this, I encourage all our staff to listen, simplify, and take considerd and measured approaches to any decision making.

Your top tip to beat procrastination?
I always give myself and the team a clear deadline for any tasks, so procrastination is kept to a minimum. And I’m constantly promoting that ‘the worst decision is one not taken’ which includes the fact that inevitably we will make mistakes, but the most important thing is that we learn from these mistakes.

Favorite getaway destination?
I feel most content sailing in the middle of the ocean – especially sailing at night when it is most peaceful. European destinations like Greece are spectacular, but now that I live in South Africa there are so many places of natural beauty to explore. My family and I recently went on holiday to Mozambique – it’s simple, wild and the seafood was incredible.

Who or what inspires you?
Some of my best inspiration comes from the sea, so in terms of adventures that inspire me, it would have to be the Vendee Globe Challenge Race – which is an individual boat race around the world. When it comes to people who have inspired me, Skippers like Bernard Moitessier and Francois Gabart definitely come to mind for their tenacity and resilliance.

What is the one thing most people don’t know about you?
I meditate in the morning. I started few years ago and even though it can be difficult to set time aside, I do find that it sets me up for the day.

What would you do with an extra hour in your day?
I would spend this extra time with family and friends celebrating life.