Constellation Brands CEO Rob Sands to step down

US-based drinks giant Constellation Brands, the owner of brands including Corona, Kim Crawford Wines and Ballast Point, has announced that Bill Newlands will take over from Rob Sands as its president and chief executive officer.

Outgoing CEO, Rob Sands.

Newlands will officially begin his new tenure on 1 March 2019. Rob Sands will take on the role of executive chair while the current incumbent, his brother Richard Sands, will take up the position of executive vice chair, both effective on 1 March.

Newlands has over 30 years experience in the alcohol industry, having held leadership roles in companies including Beam Suntory, Allied Domecq Wines USA and LVMH.

He joined Constellation Brands in 2015 as its executive vice present and chief growth officer and was later promoted to president of the company’s wine and spirits division the following year. Last year, he was upgraded to chief operating officer, assuming the role in early 2018.

Commenting on the choice of Newlands for the role, Rob Sands said: “Since joining Constellation Brands in 2015, Bill has made a significant impact on our company, finding ways to leverage our unique capabilities as a leading total beverage alcohol provider to meet consumers’ evolving needs and accelerate growth.

“Bill understands what it takes to succeed in this rapidly evolving market and he’s the right person to lead our company going forward”.

Incoming CEO, Bill Newlands.

Newlands added: “I am honoured to be selected as Constellation Brands’ next CEO. I have a tremendous amount of respect and admiration for the leadership Rob, Richard and Marvin Sands provided over the years. I look forward to working with Rob, Richard, our Board of Directors, and the Constellation Brands team to ensure we continue building on the momentum our company has gained in the marketplace for many years to come”.

The company has stated that Newlands will work closely with Rob Sands in order “to ensure a smooth leadership transition”.

One of Newlands’ first tasks will be managing the companies vast investment in Canada’s nascent cannabis industry, after the drug was legalised yesterday (17 October).

Back in October 2017, Constellation Brands invested £141 million in Canadian marijuana company Canopy Growth, buying a 9.9% stake in the business.

This year, it increased this stake to 38%, investing US$4 billion in the company, and it appears that its confidence in the sector is already paying off.

Since November last year, shares in Canopy Growth have climbed more than 285%, with the producer confirming that “$1.3 billion unrealised gain has been recognised since investment in November 2017″. 

“Our $4 billion investment in Canopy Growth provides us with a strong foothold in the emerging global cannabis market, which could be one of the most significant growth opportunities of the next decade,” Rob Sands, Constellation’s CEO at the time said in a statement.

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