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Constellation Names Hanson President Of Wine And Spirits Unit

April 26, 2019

Former Constellation Brands board member Robert Hanson has been named executive vice president, and president of the company’s wine and spirits business, effective June 3. He replaces Chris Stenzel, who left the group late last year.

Hanson served on the Constellation board from 2013 until this spring, and stepped down from the board to accept the new role leading the wine and spirits unit. Hanson was previously CEO of John Hardy Global Limited, a leading global luxury jewelry brand, and he will continue to serve as that company’s chairman. Prior to joining John Hardy, Hanson also served as CEO at American Eagle Outfitters and global brand president at Levi Strauss & Co.

Constellation president and CEO Bill Newlands cited Hanson’s “strategic orientation, brand-building abilities in high-end segments, understanding of global operations, and leadership capabilities” as assets for the group’s wine and spirits business moving forward.

The move comes as Constellation retrenches its wine and spirits portfolio at the higher end of the market, following its $1.7 billion sale of more than 30 lower-end brands to E.&J. Gallo earlier this month.

Looking ahead, Constellation plans to focus on premium and above wine and spirits brands including Robert Mondavi, Kim Crawford, Simi, Ruffino, Meiomi, Schrader, Mount Veeder, High West, Svedka, and Casa Noble, as well as newer entries like Cooper & Thief and Spoken Barrel. The company also recently added a minority stake in El Silencio mezcal.

In its fiscal year through February, Constellation’s total sales were up 7% to $8.1 billion, while operating income rose 6% to $2.6 billion, driven by its beer business. Constellation’s wine and spirits portfolio was roughly flat over the 12-month period, with net sales down 0.2% to $2.9 billion and operating income falling 2.9% to $771 million.—Daniel Marsteller

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