14th March, 2013 by Patrick Schmitt
Pol Roger’s managing director Patrice Noyelle is retiring in June after 15 years at the helm of the Champagne house.
Noyelle, who was made president of the directors at Pol Roger in June 1998, told the drinks business that the moment he finally gives up control of the business will be emotive.
“I’m sure the day I leave I will be crying – it’s my baby,” he admitted in an exclusive interview with db.
Noyelle can be credited with a turnaround in Pol Roger’s international sales performance and wine quality.
In terms of the latter, Noyelle’s biggest and bravest change was asking cellar master James Coffinet to leave and then appointing Krug’s Dominique Petit – which Noyelle enacted less than a year after his appointment.
Today, Noyelle describes Petit’s influence as “a major factor” in the success of Pol Roger.
Petit too has benefited from the move to Pol Roger. Completed in January last year were new and enlarged winemaking facilities after an investment of almost €10m (£8.75m) by the house.
In June this year, Noyelle will hand over management to a new head, though not a fresh face to the offices, or the region.
Former employee at Champagne Bruno Paillard and export manager at Pol Roger since June 2008, Laurent d’Harcourt will become managing director in three month’s time.
“I was given a lovely jewel and I’m giving it back to the family and Laurent even lovelier,” Noyelle commented, before declaring, “I am very happy I spent 15 years of my life in Champagne.”
For more on Noyelle’s influence at Pol Roger and d’Harcourt’s plans for the future, see the April edition of the drinks business.