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Top people moves in drinks: January

Dan Jago steps down from BBR

Dan Jago, CEO of Berry Bros & Rudd, has stepped down from the role, it was announced last month.

Jago took the helm of the venerable merchant in 2015 and oversaw a turnaround of the business during his three-year tenure.

Prior to his position at BBR, Jago was head of the Beer, Wine and Spirits department at Tesco and before that the joint managing director of Bibendum.

BBR’s chairwoman, Lizzy Rudd, said: “Over the past three years Dan Jago has made an extremely important contribution at Berry Bros. & Rudd, introducing significant operational and commercial initiatives that have made us a much stronger organisation. With Dan having completed what he set out to achieve, the Board and Dan have agreed that the time is now right for new leadership to guide the company through the next phase of growth.”

Jago added: “Leading Berry Bros. & Rudd for the past three and a half years has been a tremendous honour. We have achieved an enormous amount in that time and I’m grateful to everyone in the business for their hard work and commitment. I wish Berry Bros. & Rudd all the very best in the years ahead.”

With Jago’s departure, Rudd assumes the role of executive chairman until a new CEO is appointed.

Guillaume Deglise joins Domaines Albert Bichot as CEO

Burgundy producer Domaines Albert Bichot announced that Guillaume Deglise has been appointed CEO last month.

The former CEO of Vinexpo succeeds Benoît de Charette who has been in the role for the last 27 years.

As well as his time at Vinexpo, Deglise has worked for Bollinger and Laurent-Perrier in Champagne.

Albéric Bichot, president of the company, said: “Our family House celebrates 2019 by beginning a new chapter in its history. I wish to pay tribute to Benoît de Charette for his outstanding contribution, as we have formed an efficient and complimentary duo over the years. I am now looking forward to welcoming Guillaume Deglise in our family house. This is a crucial step for the winery’s ongoing development.”

Guillaume Deglise added: “This is a great opportunity to join the House Albert Bichot as the company currently achieves a strong growth of its operational and commercial activities. I am truly honoured and excited to take up this new challenge and to work closely with the team.”



TWE’s COO Robert Foye abruptly leaves company

Robert Foye, the chief operating officer of Australian wine giant Treasury Wine Estates, abruptly departed the company due to a “breach of TWE’s internal policies”, the Australian company announced in a statement last month.

Foye joined the company in 2014 after his role with Coco-Cola and was credited for driving strong growth in Asia and stabilising company business in Europe.

In May 2017 Foye was promoted to the position of COO, and shortly also assumed position of president of North America and Latin America on 1 January 2018.

The company did not specify the exact reasons for his departure but said that it was unrelated to TWE’s financial performance, stressing the company is “very happy” with the trading performance across all operating regions.

  • The results for the first half of fiscal year 2019 will reflect a performance above consensus EBITS of AU$332 million, it added, and full year guidance of approximately 25% reported EBITS growth for fiscal 2019 is reiterated in the statement.

Meanwhile, TWE’s deputy COO Tim Ford will assume the role of COO and take responsibility for oversight of TWE’s operating regions across the global business, reporting to Michael Clark.

Nick Mackenzie appointed CEO of Greene King

Nick Mackenzie will take the helm at Greene King in May 2019 (Photo: Greene King)

Pub and brewing company Greene King named Madame Tussauds executive Nick Mackenzie as its new chief executive last month, as Rooney Anand prepares to step down later this year.

Mackenzie, an executive at Merlin Entertainments which owns attractions like Alton Towers and Madame Tussauds, will join the British pub giant on 1 May.

The tourism executive joined The Tussauds Group in 2002, which was subsequently acquired by Merlin in 2007. Mackenzie stayed on at the business to head up its property and development arm. He is also an independent non-executive director of Daniel Thwaites PLC, but will leave this role when he joins the pub company.

Anand announced his intention to leave his role at Greene King in November last year after leading the Suffolk-based brewery for nearly 15 years.

“We feel that Nick’s broad experience and track record at one of the world’s leading leisure businesses as well as his knowledge of the pub business, both early in his career and more recently as a non-executive, make him the best candidate to lead Greene King through its next phase,” said the brewery’s chairman Phillip Yea.

“Greene King is a very strong business with a great portfolio of pubs and beer brands and a real commitment to its customers, staff and shareholders,” Mackenzie said.

“I am looking forward to working with my new colleagues to deliver on our vision to be the best pub company and brewer in Britain.”

Olivier Legrand joins Castelnau as marketing and communications director

Champagne Castelnau appointed Olivier Legrand as its new marketing and communications director last month.

Legrand joined from Champagne Nicholas Feuillatte where he held a similar role.

Legrand will be responsible for building brand awareness and creating a marketing programme based around its new communications and packaging that were launched for the brand’s centenary last year.

Next year Castelnau will also open its new headquarters in Reims at Villa Tassigny and Legrand will be heavily involved in that event.

Managing director of Champagne Castelnau, Pascal Prudhomme said of Legrand’s appointment: “I am delighted that Olivier Legrand has joined our dynamic team. He brings exactly the right experience and approach to the role, and will play a pivotal part in our goal to sell more than a million bottles in 2020.”


Kim Suddens joins Stannary St Wine Co as fine wine account manager

Wine merchant Stannary St Wine Co, a subsidiary of Flint Wines, appointed Kim Suddens as fine wine account manager last month.

Having spent 10 years working in the hedge fund industry in London and Geneva, Suddens made the move from finance to wine. Growing up between Alsace, Germany and the South of France, she is fluent in French and German and developed a passion for Riesling at an early age.

Making frequent visits to Burgundy during her time working in Switzerland, Suddens is now honing her knowledge through the WSET Diploma. She joins Stannary from Lea & Sandeman.

Joint head of private client sales, Sara Guiducci, commented: “We’re thrilled to have Kim join the team, especially in time to take part in our busiest campaign of the year – Burgundy En Primeur. At Stannary St Wine Co., we believe in fostering the best talent we can find, so we were delighted to have Kim join our team.”

Philippe Rolet joins Bodegas Caro as estate manager 

Philippe Rolet was appointed the new estate manager of Bodegas Caro, an Argentine winery owned jointly by the Catena and Rothschild families, last month.

He takes over from Fernando Buscema who has been technical director since 2012.

Rolet began his career at William Fèvre before joining the Alta Vista Group in Mendoza and is head of the French Honorary Consulate in the city as well.

Saskia de Rothschild, president of Domaines Barons de Rothschild, said: “Bodegas Caro is a family affair between us and the Catenas and we are thrilled to welcome Mister Rolet to help us write a new chapter in a story that has strong roots both in France and Argentina, just like him.

“Over the past years, Fernando was key in our efforts to build Caro’s identity, looking for the perfect balance between Cabernet Sauvignon and Malbec and between two countries. We wish him the best at the Catena Institute.”

Laura Catena added: “It is an absolute honour for us to make Caro with the Rothschild family, one that shares our passion for making wines of place and caring for the land and the people involved in this beautiful art of winemaking.

“My father Nicolás and I are thrilled to welcome the talented Philippe Rolet and wish to thank Fernando for his dedication to helping our two families make a Grand Vin in Argentina. I am personally looking forward to continue working with Fernando at the Catena Institute, and to experience the yearly harvests of CARO with Saskia, Philippe and the winery team for many decades to come.”

Guillem Kerambrun joins Berkmann as director of fine wine and private clients

Guillem Kerambrun was appointed the director of fine wine and private clients last month. Previously the group head sommelier and wine buyer at Caprice Restaurants, he will now be responsible for the sourcing and management of the fine wines within the Berkmann portfolio as well as building Berkmann’s offering for collectors and private customers.

Before moving to London, Kerambrun spent 13 years with legendary chef Alain Ducasse as group beverage director after he trained in France at the Dinard Food & Beverage School.

Working with purchasing director, Alex Hunt MW, Kerambrun will also help to develop and refine the fine wine selection for the on-trade, independent retail, brokers and private client sector.

Kerambrun commented: Since the beginning of my career in hospitality, I’ve always had the opportunity to work with some major players in the industry like Alain Ducasse and Richard Caring. Changing the direction of my career was not a simple decision but it is certainly easier as I stay in this exciting and vast world of wine and especially when joining such a respected company in the industry. Both Berkmann Wine Cellars and I share the same values and it’s an honour to have the opportunity to create the culture and ethos of this new department, that sits within the Berkmann family’s vision.

“One of my goals is to keep the company one step ahead of the competition by delivering the best service to our clients. As always, I will analyse each wine by its notoriety, pleasure and price.”

Colin Cameron joins Hallgarten and Novum as head of marketing

Wine distributor Hallgarten & Novum Wines appointed Colin Cameron as its head of marketing last month.

Cameron joins the wine importer from William Grant & Sons, where he was head of marketing for global travel retail, to develop the company’s marketing team, increase support for Hallgarten’s portfolio of key agencies and strengthen the collaborative relationships with customers across the trade.

He will report directly to managing director Andrew Bewes.

Bewes said Cameron brought a wealth of experience in the premium wine industry, and had a real understanding of the business of its core premium on-trade and independent retail customers.

“Colin is joining Hallgarten at a key time for the business and the industry; his appointment reflects our determination to further enhance the services and support we offer our customers,” he said.

Prior to his role at William Grant & Sons, Cameron was director of commercial planning and activation at Enotria, having previously worked in global marketing role at Diageo, as well as Justerini & Brooks, Percy Fox and Pernod Ricard.

He has worked with international wine brands such as Champagne Pommery and Marques De Riscal, as well as global spirit brands including Johnnie Walker, Glenfiddich, Baileys and Hendrick’s.

Cameron, commented: “The strength of customer relationships and the collaborative partnerships with brand owners are both a passion of mine. I know this is shared with the team at Hallgarten & Novum Wines and I am absolutely delighted to be joining such a well-respected and established business.”

Julian Grounds joins Craggy Range as new chief winemaker 

New Zealand winery Craggy Range has appointed a new chief winemaker as it embarks on its largest investment in more than a decade.

Australian winemaker Julian Grounds joined the Hawke’s Bay-base winery, having previously been chief winemaker at McHenry Hohnen in Margaret River, established by the founder of Cloudy Bay, David Hohnen. Grounds has also worked in Central Otago, Oregon, Burgundy and Yarra Valley.

He was named Dux of the 2017 Len Evans Tutorial, one of Australia’s most prestigious wine industry accolades, and Dux of Viticulture and Oenology at Curtain University, where he won the Leeuwin/Talijancich award for future leadership.

Grounds takes over from Matt Stafford who was at Craggy Range for 13 years, seven of them as chief winemaker, before announcing his departure in September to pursue other opportunities.

On announcing the appointment in late November, Craggy Range CEO Michael Wilding said it came at one of the most exciting periods for the winery since it was founded in the late 1990’s.

“We are not only achieving incredible success both here and abroad, but after a three year search, the Peabody Family are making their largest new vineyard investments in more than a decade. Julian will play a pivotal role in defining the plantings and trials as we embark on this journey, which will not only support our growth, but most importantly will push our quality and leadership in the ultra-premium NZ wine category further,” he said.

François Van Aal appointed president of Champagne Lanson

François Van Aal joins Lanson from Rémy-Cointreau, where he has worked for 23 years

Champagne Lanson appointed a new president following the retirement of former head of the house, Philippe Baijot.

Last month, it was revealed that Baijot would be succeeded by François Van Aal, who has held roles in advertising and luxury goods marketing, and most recently, a series of senior positions at Rémy-Cointreau, where he has worked for 23 years.

After studies at the Northeastern University of Boston in the US, and then at Dauphine University in Paris, François Van Aal started his career in advertising at J. Walter Thomson and then at Tag-Heuer.
In 1994 he joined Rémy-Cointreau, holding successive positions in marketing, sales and profit management – initially in the US, where he was based for seven years and then in Europe, the Middle-East and Africa.


Change at Symington Family Estates

Rupert Symington has been appointed CEO of Symington Family Estates

Rupert Symington has been appointed CEO of Symington Family Estates and Johnny Symington has been named chairman following the retirement of their cousin, Paul Symington, at the end of last year.

Rupert took up the role of chief executive of his family’s Porto-based wine group on 1 January, putting him in charge of family treasures including historic Port houses Graham’s, Dow’s, Cockburn’s and Warre’s.

At the same time, his cousin, Johnny Symington, was named chairman of the company, having previously been joint managing director with Paul Symington.

Rupert joined Symington Family Estates in 1992 and has been joint managing director of the company since 2004. Prior to joining his family’s wine company, Rupert worked as an investment analyst at a brokerage firm in London. He holds a Masters degree from Oxford and an MBA from INSEAD, Fontainebleau.

He will also continue to oversee the family’s interests in its Douro and Alentejo table wines and manage Prats & Symington, the partnership with Bordeaux-based Bruno Prats that produces revered Douro red, Chryseia. In his new role of CEO he will retain responsibility for sales in the US, a key market for Symington Family Estates.

MillerCoors appoints Michelle St. Jacques as chief marketing officer

Brewing giant MillerCoors has appointed Michelle St. Jacques as its new chief marketing officer, taking over from David Kroll, who left in July.

St. Jacques, who joins from The Kraft Heinz Company where she served as the global head of brands and capabilities, is the first woman to ever hold the role.

MillerCoors CEO Gavin Hattersley, said: “Michelle has been a rising star over the past several years, and her record of success with generations-old brands will serve us well

“As consumers continue to demand more from the brands they support, no one is better suited to take on that challenge than Michelle.”

“Her track record and progressive approach to building brand equity speak volumes, particularly in the consumer packaged goods space. She understands what makes brands unique, relevant and is ready to take our brands to the next level.”

Erik Lorincz  to lead El Bar at Momo restaurant

Eric Lorincz as head bartender at the American Bar at The Savoy

Lorincz, the former head bartender at the American Bar at The Savoy, is to lead El Bar at the newly renovated Momo restaurant in Mayfair.

Lorincz joined the American Bar as head bartender when the hotel re-launched after an extensive refurbishment in 2010. He left in May of last year after nearly eight years of service.

It was named the best bar in Europe under his stewardship in the 2016 in the World’s 50 Best Bars list, placing second in the world behind New York’s Dead Rabbit. In 2017, it was named the the best cocktail bar in the world.

Since hanging up his white jacket, Lorincz has been travelling the world and promoting his range of bar tools, Birdy by Eric Lorincz.

Now he is returning to London to head up the new El Bar at the high-end north African Momo restaurant, the sister restaurant to the Michelin-starred Sketch, in Mayfair, as reported by the Evening Standard. 

Momo, owned by restaurateur Mourad Mazouz, is currently undergoing an extensive refurbishment and will reopen in March 2019.

“As the restaurant enters its 22nd year, the iconic Momo will undergo a transformation in January 2019 and will reopen in March,” a spokesperson for the restaurant said.

Michael Saunders appointed CEO of The Benevolent

Michael Saunders, CEO of Bibendum PLB, has been appointed as the new chairman of drinks charity The Benevolent.

Saunders takes over from Tom Yusef whose two-year tenure has come to an end.

Michael Saunders commented: “2019 promises to be another important year for The Benevolent and I look forward to playing my part in supporting Chris and his team to both raise awareness of our work and the vital funds needed to enable us to provide the support that is in such demand.”

Heaven Hill Distillery appoints Conor O’Driscoll as master distiller

Heaven Hill

US whiskey distiller Heaven Hill appointed Conor O’Driscoll as the fifth master distiller in its 84-year history last month.

O’Driscoll started out in 2004 as operations manager for Brown-Forman’s distillery in Shively, later moving to the Woodford Reserve Distillery where was responsible for warehousing and processing. Most recently, he was head of operations at Bacardi-owned Angel’s Envy Distillery in Louisville.

Max L. Shapira, president of Heaven Hill Brands, commented: “Conor is among the finest young distillers in our business and we could not be more thrilled to have him at the forefront of distilling for our historic portfolio,” said

“In his 15 years in the industry, he’s played a key role in growing production and innovation, with an expectation of quality and a respect for craftsmanship. In that regard, he is a perfect fit for us.”

In his new role at the Heaven Hill Distillery, O’Driscoll will lead the distilling and warehousing teams at the group’s Bernheim distillery in Louisville.

Commenting on his new position, O’Driscoll said: “I’m very proud to be a part of Heaven Hill’s storied whiskey legacy. The trust of the Shapira family is humbling and I am excited and honoured to carry on the traditions of the master distillers that helped establish Heaven Hill’s place in the industry.

“I am especially honoured to carry on the legacy of Parker Beam, whose expectations for quality and consistency live on today.”

Proximo Spirits appoints Michael Keyes as CEO

Proximo Spirits has appointed Michael Keyes as its president and CEO. In his new role, Keyes will manage all operations of Proximo and its affiliates in the US and Canada.

Keyes brings with him over 30 years of experience in the spirits sector, including 10 years as president of North America for Brown-Forman. Keyes joined Brown-Forman in 1991, serving in marketing, sales and finance roles.

Juan Domingo Beckmann, chief executive officer of Proximo’s parent company, Becle, said: “Mike is a proven leader with the right skills and experience to lead our most profitable markets,”

Keyes takes over from Michael Cheek who will continue as a member of the Becle board of directors.

Commenting on his new position, Keyes said: “I join Proximo at a very exciting time, when the company is performing strongly thanks to the leadership of the Beckmann family.  Proximo has grown rapidly over the past decade, and I look forward to working with the company’s outstanding management team and distributor network to build on Proximo’s phenomenal track record of brand development and commercial success.

“Proximo already has one of the strongest brand portfolios in the industry, and is particularly well positioned in the dynamic, high-growth categories of tequila, Irish whiskey and North American whiskey.  Under my leadership, Proximo will continue its dual mission of responsible stewardship of iconic legacy brands and aggressive development of innovative growth brands.”

Armit Wines boosts sales and marketing teams

Armit Wines made several new additions to its sales and marketing teams last month as it builds on appointments made towards the end of 2018.

Giusy Andreachio (pictured) will return to the merchant’s London on-trade team and will work closely with the Italian portfolio.

Catia Santolin joins the same team from Fields, Morris & Verdin, while Alex Hill joins the marketing team as brand manager from Liberty Wines.

Kirsten Kirby, managing director of Armit Wines, said: “We are delighted to start the year by welcoming three new members of staff, including the return of a familiar face.

“Giusy was a joy to work with and it is great to have her back. We are committed to building and strengthening our team in line with our continued growth as a business and I am very excited to see what 2019 will bring.”


TWE appoints Tony Watson as commercial director for the UK and Ireland

Treasury Wine Estates (TWE) appointed Tony Watson, the former managing director of C&C-owned cider producer Orchard Pig, as its commercial director for the UK and Ireland last month.

Watson has joined as commercial director after the promotion of Michelle Brampton to managing director for Europe in November last year.

He joins from Somerset-based Orchard Pig, which supplies a range of cider, soft drinks and beer in the UK.

Before Orchard Pig, Watson worked at Carlsberg UK in various sales and operational roles for over 30 years.

Commenting on his appointment, Watson said: “I am very excited to join a business with such a fantastic portfolio of innovative and award-winning brands. I’m really looking forward to working with our customers to help make our wines work for them and most importantly their shoppers.”

Patrick Schmitt MW joins team of instructors at the Wine Scholar Guild 

Editor-in-chief at the drinks business, Patrick Schmitt MW, has joined the team of instructors at the Wine Scholar Guild as it launches a newly-updated programme on Champagne.

Patrick joins a “dream team” of tutors on Champagne, including Essi Avellan MW, Peter Liem, Charles Curtis MW, Steve Charters MW, Robert Walters and Carl Edmund Sherman, who you can read more about by clicking here.

Patrick is editor-in-chief at The Drinks Business and a specialist on Champagne, visiting the region regularly, chairing the Champagne Masters, editing the annual Champagne Report, and author of an original piece of research into the changing sugar levels in Brut NV Champagne over a 21-year period for his Master of Wine dissertation.

Patrick’s presentation, entitled The Changing Taste of Champagne, will be one of the 16 live webinars included in the programme and will consider how climate, viticulture and winemaking have affected the character of Champagne’s best-known and biggest-selling brands.

This updated and enriched Champagne Master-Level program launches on 21 January 2019, and you can register for the course by clicking here.

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