Southern Glazer’s long-standing COO steps into strategic role

The  COO of US drinks distributor Southern Glazer, Brad Vassar, has stepped into a new strategic and advisory role, and become a member of the company’s board, and away from the day-to-day management of the company.

In the new role as strategic advisor to the CEO, Vassar will advise CEO Wayne Chaplin as well as providing leadership and oversight of the company’s internal leadership development program> He will also mentor key members of the commercial leadership team, including chief commercial officer John Wittig, chief sales and marketing officer Gene Sullivan – who will report directly to the CEO from 8 September – and chief growth officer David Chaplin.

CEO Wayne Chaplin said Vassar’s professionalism had helped to change the landscape of the distribution tier in the U.S. market, and helped the company shape its own change agenda, and he would be missed in the company’s own day-to-day activities.

“He has left his leadership mark on our company, our employees and our culture and for that I personally will forever be grateful,” he said. “Brad will be missed in our day-to-day activities and on the front lines, but will continue to be involved and assist us with his thoughts and vision as a strategic advisor and board member.”

Vassar said it was his responsibility as a manager to help prepare the next generation of leaders and to know the right time to let them succeed on their own. “For me, that time is now.. Wayne is the smartest, hardest working person in this business, and we at Southern Glazer’s are fortunate to have a deep bench of leaders ready now to continue to ensure this company evolves and is even better over the next decade and beyond,” he said.

Vassar joined Southern Wine & Spirits of America in 1991 as a district manager for the Central Valley in California, becoming branch manager for Sacramento Valley and later general manager of Southern California. In December 2004, he was appointed general manager, and in May 2014, executive vice president and chief operating officer.

Following Southern’s merger with Dallas-based Glazer’s Inc in January 2016, which formed the biggest wine and spirits distributor in the US, Vassar was appointed to his current role of executive vice president and chief operating officer Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits.

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