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Exclusive: Stoli Group Chief Executive Hugues Pietrini Steps Down

April 25, 2019

Stoli Group president and CEO Hugues Pietrini, who has helmed the vodka giant since 2017, has departed the company, SND has learned.

Luxembourg-based Stoli has not announced any immediate plans to fill the global CEO role vacated by Pietrini. Looking ahead, Rudy Costello will continue to lead Stoli Group USA as president and CEO, responsible for operations in the U.S. and Canada, while Andreas Ioannides, managing director of international distribution, will take on the management of Stoli’s “rest-of-world” markets. Ioannides is a 16-year veteran of Stoli parent company SPI Group.

In a statement to SND, Stoli Group noted, “This is an important step in delivering transformational changes, and best positions the company for its future success. Moving forward, the organization will bridge the global and U.S. divisions, empowering a best-in-class team to lead brands and regions around the world.”

Pietrini, who led Stoli for approximately two years, oversaw a shakeup of the company’s U.S. leadership—including the appointment of Beam veteran Costello early last year—as well as the launch of a global “Loud and Clear” marketing campaign for the group’s flagship vodka brand. According to Impact Databank, the Stoli brand was up 2% globally in 2018 to 3.7 million cases, with its U.S. depletions rising 3% to 1.8 million cases.

During the early part of this year, the company undertook a number of new initiatives, particularly in the U.S. Chief among them is a distributor realignment covering about 25% of its U.S. business. That effort saw Young’s Market gain Stoli’s brands in 10 Western states effective April 1, replacing Southern Glazer’s, among other moves.

Meanwhile, Stoli recently rolled out a new Lime extension ($20 a 750-ml.) in the flavored vodka segment, as well as a Cristalino expression ($80) for its Cenote Tequila label. It also introduced a new range of Gator Bite liqueurs ($17), and is moving forward on a 1.5-million-proof gallon distillery for its Kentucky Owl whiskey. In recent days, Stoli named Brown-Forman veteran Lee Tatum as managing director of Kentucky Owl, with an eye toward continuing to raise the brand’s profile at the high end of the American whiskey category.—Daniel Marsteller

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