Cristina Mariani-May named CEO of Banfi
Cristina Mariani-May has been named president and CEO of New York-based fine wine importer Banfi Vintners; a role she has shared with her cousin James Mariani since 2007.
As part of the restructure, James Mariani will work on the Banfi advisory board under the title of ‘principal’, while Rich Andrews steps into the role of chief operating officer.
Andrews will report directly to Mariani-May and will be responsible for the general management of day-to-day business operations, with the aim of accelerating business performance.
“These are strategic moves that are necessary to position Banfi for long-term, sustainable growth,” Mariani-May said. “Rich Andrews is highly respected in our industry and we are thrilled to have him join the Banfi team,” she added.
Andrews brings over 25 years of beverage industry experience in international leadership and general management roles across North America, Europe, and Latin America.
With 25 years in the drinks industry under his belt, including 13 years at Bacardi, Andrews was most recently president and MD for the Americas for coffee roaster Lavazza.
Banfi Vintners was founded in New York in 1919 by John F. Mariani, Sr. and has grown to become one of America’s leading importers of fine wines.
In addition to its import business, the Mariani family also owns Castello Banfi in Montalcino; Vigne Regali Cellars in Piedmont; and Pacific Rim Winery in Washington.
At Vintialy last year Mariani-May told db that cutthroat competition has led to a “congested” wine industry that penalises you if you stand still.
“The industry is very congested – there are so many beautiful wines out there, so you can’t stand still.
“We have to present ourselves as an affordable luxury in order to succeed. It’s tough out there – it’s a very challenging and competitive market.
“It’s hard to innovate successfully in today’s wine world. So many new things are being put out there; if you don’t have authenticity you’re going to come unstuck,” she said.