Patrick Ricard to end speculation on his future role
Patrick Ricard, the long-serving chairman and chief executive of Pernod Ricard, is expected to announce to the annual shareholders’ meeting his plans to relinquish some of his roles at the company.
The annual shareholders’ meeting of Pernod Ricard on November 7 is likely to be a milestone in the company’s history because Patrick Ricard, the long-serving chairman and chief executive, is expected to tell the audience in Paris of his plans to relinquish some of his roles at the company.
M. Ricard, who is 62, said a couple of years ago that he would hand over the reins “between 61 and 63” and has since regretted making the remark because it has provoked regular speculation about when he will step down from day-to-day management. Analysts and shareholders now expect an announcement about how much power he will give up and when at the AGM. They believe that failure to end the speculation would cause uncertainty and be damaging to the company.
Although M. Ricard hopes that one day another member of his family will play a prominent role in running the company, there is no-one yet ready to step into his shoes, so the favourite to take control is Pierre Pringuet, the present managing director.
M. Ricard joined the pastis company founded by his father Paul in 1932 and became president in 1972. He became group president after the merger with Pernod in 1975 and then chairman and chief executive in 1978.
Under his guidance, Pernod Ricard has moved from concentrating largely on the French market to become one of the world’s second largest wines and spirits company. First he took over Irish Distillers but the company was truly transformed by its joint takeover of Seagram with Diageo in 2001. That was followed by buying Allied Domecq in 2005. Pernod Ricard is now one of France’s top 30 companies as measured by market capitalisation.
Ron Emler, 01.08.07