Making his Marque


GSB alumnus Dr James Espey recently released his book "Making Your Marque", distilling the 50 years of business experience that led to him receiving his OBE into a concise package aimed at helping others.    

There can be no argument that GSB alumnus Dr James Espey is a giant in his field.

Espey has spent 50 years in business, starting in the grocery trade before moving into the liquor industry, spending a large part of his career working internationally, creating winning brands and distribution companies. 

His success in his field led to the incredible honour of being awarded the Order of the British Empire (OBE) for Services to the Whisky Industry in the Queen's Birthday Honours List, in June 2013. 

"I was both humbled and proud to receive an OBE from Her Majesty in person; I went to Buckingham Palace in November last year, accompanied by my wife Celia and Jessica our second daughter. An incredibly moving occasion," he says. 

Espey says that completing his MBA at the GSB in 1968 was doubtless the accelerator for his career. "With my newly minted MBA, I started at Coca Cola, before joining Gilbey's South Africa (now part of Diageo, the largest liquor company in the world) as the National Sales Manager," he says.
He was personally responsible for the creating and building the brands of Malibu, Johnnie Walker Blue Label and Chivas Regal 18, among others. "I also of course have launched my own little baby - The Last Drop Distillers Limited -, of which I am quite proud," he says.

In recent years, James has become a consultant and non-executive director of a wide variety of companies.  A lot of time of his time is devoted to mentoring young executives, and he has given various lectures on marketing and building brands at leading schools including London Business School, Edinburgh University and the GSB. His recently launched book, "Making Your Marque - 100 tips to build your personal brand and succeed in business" is aimed at helping those on the career ladder who are looking for some friendly, sensible and pro-active advice.

"My life has essentially been about building brands and people, which is the essence of my website, as well. After 50 years, one learns something - so a large part of why I wrote the book is to share some of that knowledge".

To purchase your copy of Making Your Marque, please click here.




Attend one of our fascinating and informative events and engage with thought leaders from across South Africa.

Information Sessions

An opportunity to meet the GSB recruitment team and alumni, and have all your course-related questions answered.

Our Credentials

We are committed to making business better