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EXCLUSIVE: Pernod Revamps Leadership At U.S. Wine Division

November 12, 2013

Pernod Ricard USA has made several key appointments to its Wines and Champagnes unit, Shanken News Daily has learned. Jeff Agdern, most recently vice president, wine and spirits marketing at Pernod’s Canadian sister company Corby Spirit and Wine, will now become senior vice president, Wines and Champagnes at Pernod USA, reporting to company president and CEO Bryan Fry. Agdern replaces Stephen O’Neill, who has served as interim general manager of the wine unit since Lauren Simkin left that role and the company a year ago. O’Neill will continue in his position as Pernod USA’s senior vice president, strategy and transformation.

Meanwhile, 20-year industry veteran Mike Hermann has been tapped as vice president, sales, for the Wines and Champagnes division, a newly created post. Hermann most recently led Pernod’s unit for Illinois, Indiana and Kentucky, and prior to that was on-premise sales director for Glazer’s, based in Chicago.

The new vice president, marketing, at Wines and Champagnes will be Jo Adamo, currently marketing director for media strategy and premium wines at Pernod Ricard Winemakers (Pernod’s global wine business). Adamo replaces Frank Polley, who recently was named Pernod USA’s vice president, spirits trade marketing. Both Adamo and Hermann will report to Agdern.

Fry said the moves demonstrate Pernod’s ambition to significantly expand its Wines and Champagnes business over the next five years. “We’ve got a premium portfolio of wines and Champagnes, supported by our powerful route to market,” he said. “Now we’ve added a dedicated U.S. management team focused on building our brands and driving innovations to meet consumer needs.”

Among Pernod’s three biggest wine brands in the U.S. market, Jacob’s Creek was down 3.5% to 826,000 cases in 2012, according to Impact Databank, while Mumm Napa was flat at 225,000 cases and Brancott rose 4% to 158,000 cases. Fry added that key initiatives for the unit looking ahead will include repositioning Jacob’s Creek, increasing investment on other core brands like Brancott, Graffigna and Campo Viejo, continuing to develop Pernod’s first California wine brand, Deadbolt, which launched a year ago, and “driving an ambitious innovation agenda.”

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