ONE of the team behind the Guinness brand has joined a business support group.

FRANCIS EAMES managed the Guinness brand in 150 countries and his experience will now be used to help companies in the North-East to grow.

He has joined The Alchemists, an organisation that selects entrepreneurial companies in the region and helps them to grow.

Mr Eames began his career with Unilever, managing its food brands and becoming marketing director of Lipton Soft Drinks Group, before moving to senior marketing posts with Diageo in the Asia Pacific region.

He has been a global marketing consultant since 1998 and, as well as developing the Guinness brand, has worked with a number of Footsie 100 companies, as well as small family operations and public service bodies, such as BBC World Service.

"The breadth of Francis's experience of creating and developing global brands means that The Alchemists can give the companies we work with the very best advice from someone who really does understand the issues," said Liz Muir, of The Alchemists.