Former Patrón Spirits and Grey Goose Global Chief Marketing Officer Lee Applbaum Joins Surterra Wellness as New CMO

Former Coca-Cola international marketer Philippa Classey is also joining Surterra as its first managing director for Europe.

September 16, 2019

ATLANTA, Sept. 16, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- PRESS RELEASE -- Surterra Wellness, one of the fastest growing wellness companies in the United States, has announced that Lee Applbaum has joined the company as its new chief marketing officer (CMO) and Philippa Classey has joined the company as its first managing director, Europe. 

Applbaum and Classey are the latest talent the company has attracted to join its leadership team in building global iconic cannabis brands to improve the well-being of consumers. 

With his expertise in the premier spirits and consumer goods businesses, Applbaum will lead Surterra's global marketing teams and direct product innovation, integrated brand marketing, retail brand and sales management initiatives reporting directly to Surterra Chief Executive Officer William "Beau" Wrigley Jr.

"Lee is one of the most extraordinary brand builders in the business and having him join our executive leadership team is a big win for Surterra. As an accomplished senior marketing expert, Lee is exceptional at branding products in ways consumers connect with authentically, engaging with consumers at the right moments, and making the complex simple – all critically important in the cannabis business," said Wrigley.  "Lee also shares our consumer-first mind-set, our values, and our aim to be the gold-standard in the business."

Applbaum comes to Surterra from Bacardi Global Brands Limited where he served as the global CMO for Patrón Tequila and Grey Goose Vodka, the world's number one ultra-premium tequila and vodka brands.  At Bacardi, he led two global integrated marketing organizations across more than 165 countries reporting to the global CEO. Applbaum also was CMO for Target Australia, and held leadership marketing roles at recognized retail and consumer goods companies, including RadioShack Corporation, Federated Department Stores and Schlotsky's. Applbaum began his career at the Coca-Cola Company. In 2015, Applbaum received an Adweek Brand Genius award for groundbreaking digital and social media efforts, and in 2018 he was awarded the Business Insider "Most Innovative CMO" award. Applbaum received a BBA from The University of Texas Austin and his MBA from The University of Massachusetts at Amherst.

"Surterra is creating the blueprint for leadership in the cannabis space based on a strong ethos, which I immediately identified with having come from brands with a heritage of ethos. I'm excited to make the leap from luxury spirits to the dynamic cannabis industry because of Beau Wrigley's vision for Surterra and the industry. I'm honored to join a team of the most experienced and game-changing leaders of global iconic companies and brands to create innovative cannabis products and authentic brands that will make a big impact on the well-being of consumers," said Applbaum.

Classey, who will be based in London and report to Wrigley, joins Surterra as its first international executive leadership team member, signaling the company's readiness to expand into Europe and other international markets. Prior to joining Surterra, she was the CMO of Harmless Harvest where she reported to the CEO and oversaw the growth expansion plans of regulated coconut water. She also led the commercial launch of SmartWater and Vitamin Water in Europe for the Coca-Cola Company, having worked at the company in its water and juice divisions for two decades. Classey has a BA from Brunel University in London. 

"Philippa will be our first executive leader based outside the U.S. and will spearhead our efforts to expand into international markets and to complement our South American footprint in Colombia, beginning with the EU marketplace. As an entrepreneurial leader who has led successful launches of consumer and regulated products across Europe, Philippa is a strategic addition to our leadership team," said Wrigley.

"I couldn't be more excited to lead the expansion of Surterra into Europe and to build our international cannabis business across the rapidly growing EU cannabis market,"  said Classey. "Surterra offers the big thinking and leadership of an established global player with the entrepreneurial opportunity to write the playbook for how to be an global leader in this space."