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Former Bacardi Chairman Manuel Jorge Cutillas Passes Away At 81

November 4, 2013

Manuel Jorge Cutillas, former chairman of Bacardi Ltd., died unexpectedly on November 1. He was 81.

Cutillas, great-great grandson of company founder Don Facundo Bacardí Massó, was the first chairman of Bacardi Ltd., the grouping of Bacardi companies formed in 1992. In that move, Cutillas led a successful effort to consolidate five separate Bacardi operating units—Bacardi International Ltd. (Bermuda), Bacardi & Co. Ltd. (Bahamas), Bacardi Corp. (Puerto Rico), Bacardi Imports (U.S.) and Bacardi y Compañía S.A. de C.V. (Mexico) into one company, Bacardi Ltd.

Cutillas also led the acquisition of Martini & Rossi in 1993, which transformed Bacardi from a rum-only company into a diversified spirits and wine player also marketing vermouths, wines, Cognac, Scotch and liqueurs. That deal doubled Bacardi’s size and vaulted it into the top five among global spirits companies.

Cutillas started working for Bacardi in 1955 as a chemical engineer at its original Cuban headquarters in Santiago de Cuba. Later he led Bacardi & Co. Ltd. in the Bahamas from 1977-1992 and then became chairman of Bacardi Ltd. Cutillas, who retired from the chairman’s role in 2000, is survived by his wife and son.

“The Bacardi family and employees are deeply saddened at the passing of Manuel Jorge—one of the icons of our company,” said Bacardi Ltd. chairman Facundo Bacardi. “Through his drive and leadership, he helped shape the global company we have today. His pursuit of growth took Bacardi from being solely a rum company to a group with a diverse portfolio of premium brands, establishing us as a global player.”

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