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Southern Glazer’s announces death of chairman

Southern Glazer’s has announced the company’s chairman Harvey Chaplin has died at the age of 95 years old.

In an obituary, the firm, which is one of the world’s largest distributors of alcohol, said that Chaplin had been “one of the most influential and storied figures in the wine and spirits industry”.

Chaplin was born in 1929 in the Brownsville section of Brooklyn, New York. By the time he graduated from Brooklyn Boy’s High School, he had already begun his career in the wine and spirits industry, securing a part-time position in the mailroom at Schenley Industries and working his way up to run wholesale operations.

In 1969, he joined Southern Wine, along with other founding executives. He served in numerous senior executive roles running day-to-day operations of Southern from 1969 to 1993 and in 1994, became Chairman and CEO. He became Chairman of Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits in July 2016, upon the historic combination of Southern Wine and Glazer’s Distributing. Today, Southern Glazer’s remains a privately held company and is the largest distributor of beverage alcohol in North America.

Chaplin’s vision was for creating a national footprint to scale the value that a wholesaler could deliver for suppliers and customers. His work has driven the growth of the firm, which now operates in 45 US markets, as well as Canada. His son, Wayne Chaplin, became CEO of the company and took over the day-to-day running of the business, but Henry Chaplin remained “deeply involved in the business”, the notice said.

Wayne E. Chaplin, CEO of Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits, said: “It is with great sadness that I announce the passing of my beloved father, Harvey Chaplin, our Company’s founder and chairman, and one of the icons of our industry.

“His influence as a leader, a philanthropist, a loving family man, and Patriarch of our family has left an indelible mark on all who have known and worked with him. He was a larger-than-life figure and will be greatly missed by my family, and our entire Southern Glazer’s team.”

Bennett Glazer, executive vice chairman of Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits, said: “Harvey and I shared a mutual dedication to family, commitment to our communities, and investing in people as the foundation of business success. I am proud to have had him as a colleague and a friend, and join our entire Southern Glazer’s team in mourning his loss.

“On behalf of the entire leadership team, I extend our sympathies to his family, who meant the world to him.”

Mr. Chaplin is survived by his wife, Roberta; his first wife Arlene died in 2000, with whom he had three children, Paul (Karen); Wayne (Arlene), and Terry (Fred); and 9 grandchildren, Monica (Moises); Elizabeth (Evan); Katie (Spencer); David (Ashley); Jennifer (Sean); Mark (Carly); Scott (Zoe); Ryan (Lauren); and Tyler (Tatiana).

He also is survived by 10 great grandchildren.

Memorial contributions may be made in Harvey Chaplin’s name to the Harvey R. Chaplin Family Stroke and Chest Pain Center at Mount Sinai Medical Center, or to the Harvey R. Chaplin Central Building at Temple Beth Shalom Miami Beach, Florida or to the Chaplin School of Hospitality & Tourism Management at Florida International University.

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