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EXCLUSIVE: Diageo North America President Larry Schwartz To Retire After Illustrious 40-Year Drinks Industry Career

June 15, 2015

Diageo North America president Larry Schwartz has announced his retirement, 40 years to the day after he began his illustrious career in the drinks industry.

Schwartz, who has served in his current role since 2012, plans to stay with Diageo through the end of the year. The drinks giant is in the process of appointing a search firm to help find a replacement.

Schwartz, 62, began his drinks industry career in 1975, when he joined Seagram, working in trade and consumer research. He climbed the ranks there and eventually held a variety of key executive posts. When Diageo jointly acquired Seagram with Pernod Ricard in 2001, Schwartz led the integration of the Seagram brands into Diageo, taking on the role of president of Joseph E. Seagram and Sons.

Over the next several years, Schwartz’s role at Diageo North America continued to expand, and, in 2008, he was named president of Diageo USA. Four years later, he was appointed president of Diageo North America. During his time at the helm, Diageo’s leading brands—including Smirnoff, Captain Morgan, Crown Royal, Johnnie Walker, Ketel One and Ciroc, among others—all achieved solid growth as Diageo solidified its leadership of the U.S. spirits market.

“I have worked with Larry for nearly 15 years. He is one of my wisest colleagues and a friend,” said Diageo PLC CEO Ivan Menezes. “In the last few months Larry has spoken with me about his future and that of Diageo in North America and Larry has decided that as we mark today’s amazing milestone of 40 years service he wants to retire at a time when Larry is proud of Diageo’s achievements, and excited to pursue the next phase of his life with his family.”

“Larry has achieved a position of incredible respect and success over his 40 years in our industry,” said Marvin R. Shanken, chairman of M. Shanken Communications. “He’s a giant in the industry, and while he’ll be sorely missed, nobody deserves a next chapter of relaxation and family time more than him. I wish him all the best.”

“I am proud to be a bartender’s son and grandson, and am so privileged to have enjoyed 40 years in an industry I love,” said Schwartz. “Working with Diageo’s brands and people has been the highlight of a career that has brought me much joy.”

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