Home » Case studies » Suntory – Global Leadership Development Programme

Suntory – Global Leadership Development Programme

suntory logo

In late 2018, the Møller Institute team won a substantial new contract in Japan as strategic partner for Suntory’s Global Leadership Development Programme, its flagship multi-module, multi-region investment in developing future leaders. This was undertook by 24 of its most promising young stars from all over the world. This latest client win follows the hire of former Tokyo-based DIT Head of Trade Development, Richard Buttrey, to spearhead the Institute’s executive education growth in Asia.


Suntory, established in 1899, are a global leader in consumer packaged goods, producing and distributing a diverse portfolio of beverages, premium spirits, beer and wine, and wellness products throughout the world. In 2008, Suntory’s leadership decided to transform the company into a global player through serial acquisition.  The group now consists of more than 300 companies and now include 41% from the Americas, Europe and Asia/Oceania.  Alcohol and non-alcoholic beverages dominate Suntory’s portfolio but it also has an important health-supplement business in Asia. Suntory’s well-known UK brands include Lucozade; Jim Beam; Ribena and they bottle for Pepsi in the US.


In August 2018, a small team from Suntory attended a workshop at the Møller Institute to design the programme as well as showcasing Cambridge and including a trip to the Dojima Sake Brewery in Fordham.

As is typical after significant mergers and acquisitions, the group knows it needs to work to retain its essential core/Japanese DNA – which rests on a small set of guiding philosophies around quality of manufacturing, making a positive contribution to society through growth, managed risk taking and sustainably living with water.  Within this, Suntory is particularly focused on innovation in its widest sense, including how business models and not just products/marketing may need to change.  Suntory’s overall objective for the programme is to “develop a global leadership mindset, broaden perspective for the future and create emotional bonds to Suntory and each other”, encompassing sub-themes of self-awareness, developing others, leading cultures, Innovation and change.


The group heard from leading lights in the Cambridge innovation ecosystem including, amongst others, Professor Tim Minshall, Professor of Innovation, Head of the Institute for Manufacturing; Edd Brunner, Head of Global Food and Beverage Business and Asia Consumer Business, Cambridge Consultants and Michael Chaskalson, Europe’s leading pioneer of mindfulness teaching and research.

Professor Tim Minshall unpacked the criticality of innovation, explain how the Cambridge eco-system has evolved and what Suntory can learn from it, delving into the detail of how large companies successfully innovate. Edd explained how professional outsource innovators approach sustainability and product/experience innovation – and understand their team dynamic and process. Michael will explore the importance of looking at the mind and improving focus.

Other sessions included political and economic macro-trends and their implications for Suntory; embedding design thinking; the effect on brands of digital transformation and disruption; futures thinking and scenario planning; processes and frameworks for innovation and the art and science of a high-performing teams.

The Churchill College and Sir Winston Churchill story – Innovation Leader and Influencer – was delivered by Allen Packwood OBE, Director of the Churchill Archive Centre. Finally, the group were challenged by Barry Phipps, Director of Studies, History of Art, Churchill College, to draw parallels between disruption in art and business, and then to complete a timed challenge around Cambridge to gather evidence of breaking the ‘dominant logic’.

Further key areas:

  • Team Performance: Mark de Rond
  • Macro-Trends: Dr Jay Jung
  • Sustainability: James Stacey
  • Innovation against all odds: Richard Buttrey
  • Branding: Eden Yin


Participant feedback

  • “Very good arrangement and warm hospitality during staying in Cambridge.”
  • “The Møller group did an amazing job organizing the week and looking after all our needs.”
  • “It has been the most impactful and useful module since the beginning.  All presenters were excellent in their domain and in delivering strong messages and learnings.”