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Wildman’s Cacciato Retires After 25 Years At Helm; New Leadership Team Announced

April 3, 2014

After 25 years at the helm of Frederick Wildman & Sons, president and CEO Richie Cacciato is retiring, effective July 31, 2014. During his leadership tenure, Cacciato built the New York-based Wildman—whose roots date back to the repeal of Prohibition—into one of the country’s leading fine wine importers.

Today, Wildman handles over 50 brands, its wine portfolio led by Italy and France in addition to Spain, Portugal, Argentina, New Zealand, Germany and Austria. After consistent growth over the past two decades, the company now sells well more than 500,000 cases of wine annually. Its portfolio is led by Italy’s Folonari (with yearly U.S. sales of around 300,000 cases), which Wildman gained in 1989, the same year Cacciato joined the importer after nearly 20 years in the drinks business.

In recent years, Wildman also branched into spirits. Its lineup currently includes Chartreuse liqueur, Pig’s Nose and Sheep Dip Scotches, Ilegal Mezcal and Edinburgh gin.

“It’s been a wonderful journey. I joined a company struggling to find its place in the evolving wine and spirits industry. A company rich with history and heritage, representing some of the most respected and renowned families in the fine wine business,” said Cacciato, who began his career in 1970 as a sales representative at 21 Brands Inc. and eventually became president of that company. “With the unwavering support of the historical suppliers and new additions, we began the building process. Our goal was: not to lose our heritage, stay true to our history, maintain our reputation for prestige and quality while repositioning Wildman in such a manner that it would become relevant in the changing fine wine business. By any measure, one would say that we at Wildman have achieved a high degree of success.”

Cacciato will be succeeded as CEO by Davide Mascalzoni of Grupo Italiano Vini (GIV), which is one of Wildman’s shareholders. (Several of Wildman’s other suppliers are also shareholders, having joined forces with Cacciato to acquire the company in 1993). Mascalzoni joined Grupo Italiano Vini (GIV) in 1999 as chief financial officer and in 2010 rose to his current role as GIV’s general manager. Meanwhile, Rocco Lombardo will assume the position of president/chief operating officer. Lombardo has spent the past 17 years with Wildman in a variety of roles. He was promoted to his current post as senior vice president/chief operating officer in 2012.

“The success of the company can be directly attributed to Richie’s leadership. All of us on the board owe him a deep debt of gratitude for his stewardship of the company,” said Frederick Wildman chairman Rolando Chiossi. “Our Italian and French shareholders, along with my colleagues on the board, have full confidence in our new management team and look forward to their leadership.”

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