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ASC Fine Wines names new CEO

Chinese merchant ASC Fine Wines has announced that Bruno Baudry, currently managing director of Codorniu Asia, will become its new CEO following the resignation of John Watkins.

Bruno Baudry

The company, which is one of the major fine wine importers and distributors in China and owned by Suntory Wines International, appointed Watkins to its helm three years ago from a career spent outside the wine trade. He is now leaving to take up a role with a “multinational company in a different industry.”

By contrast, Baudry has spent more than 15 years in the international wine industry and brings particularly strong knowledge of Asian Pacific markets, as well as strong networks in France, Spain and Italy.

A fluent speaker of French, English, Japanese and Spanish, Baudry spent over a decade with the Castel Group, ending up as chief representative of Castel Singapore, before taking up his current role at Codorniu in 2013. His new role with ASC will begin on 1 June.

Yuji Yamazaki, chairman of the board of ASC Fine Wines and president & CEO of Suntory Wines International, thanked Watkins for “navigating ASC through one of the most challenging times in the imported wine industry in China and for executing with his team many innovations and improvements during this period.”

Yamazaki described ASC as one of the “key elements” in SWI’s wider strategy of “strengthening and expanding its business in the international wine industry”. As a result, he commented, “We are confident that Bruno will build on the existing platforms to ensure ASC continues to play a leading role in contributing to and growing the culture for fine wine in China.”

Meanwhile Baudry outlined his mission as head of “the leading premium fine wine importer in China”, saying: “I have strong confidence that the ASC team and I will take ASC to the next level of growth, customer service and partnership with suppliers and further enhance the appreciation for and sales of fine wines in Mainland China, Hong Kong and Macau.”

ASC manages a portfolio of 1,200 wines from over 100 wineries around the world, including Champagne Laurent-Perrier, Trimbach, Taylor’s Port, Gaja, Marqués de Riscal, Penfolds, Klein Constantia and JJ Prüm.

It also sells direct the consumers via its Wine Gallery by ASC division, which features a chain of shops and online outlet, and runs private members club the Wine Residence in Shanghai.

In addition to ASC, SWI owns a number of wineries in Japan, as well as Château Lagrange in Bordeaux, Weingut Robert Weil in the Rheingau. The group also owns a share of two other Bordeaux estates, Château Beychevelle and Château Beaumont.

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