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Exclusive: Jim Clerkin Named President of Moët Hennessy Strategic Development; Seth Kaufman To Lead Moët Hennessy North America

August 27, 2019

Longtime Moët Hennessy North America president and CEO Jim Clerkin is transitioning to a new role, president of Moët Hennessy strategic development and advisor to Paris-based global CEO Philippe Schaus, effective January 1. Clerkin will report to Jean-Marc Lacave, executive vice president, global distribution, and remain a member of the Moët Hennessy operational committee.

Looking forward, Clerkin will focus on the strategic development of Moët Hennessy’s global distribution network and play a key role in executing the company’s mergers and acquisitions strategy. He will also continue to lead the Woodinville Whiskey board of directors.

Clerkin joined Moët Hennessy USA in 2008 as executive vice president and chief operating officer, becoming president and CEO of the U.S. unit two years later. More recently, he added responsibility for Canada and Mexico with the creation of the Moët Hennessy North America division. Clerkin began his career with Guinness in Northern Ireland and served in key roles with Diageo and Beam before joining Moët Hennessy. He previously served as vice chairman and later chairman of the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States, and in 2012 was named Industry Executive of the Year at M. Shanken Communications’ Market Watch Leaders awards.

Lacave credited Clerkin with driving “tremendous growth in terms of both volume and profit” during his tenure in the top role at Moët Hennessy North America. In particular, Hennessy Cognac has exploded in the U.S. in recent years, expanding by 1.5 million cases from 2013-2018 to reach 3.7 million cases and take a 61% share of the U.S. Cognac category, according to Impact Databank.

With Clerkin taking on a new mission, Moët Hennessy has named Seth Kaufman as CEO of its North America division, effective January 1. Kaufman will also report to Lacave and join the company’s operational committee.

Kaufman comes to Moët Hennessy from PepsiCo, where he has held a series of marketing, sales, and management roles across a 19-year tenure. Most recently he served as president for PepsiCo North America Nutrition & The Hive Emerging Brand Unit. Prior to that he was chief marketing officer of PepsiCo North America Beverages.

At Moët Hennessy, Kaufman is charged with continuing to drive growth for the company’s upscale wine and spirits brands, which in addition to Hennessy include Moët & Chandon, Veuve Clicquot, Dom Pérignon, Krug, Glenmorangie, Ardbeg, Belvedere, Vulcan de mi Tierra, Woodinville, Cloudy Bay, Cheval des Andes, and Newton, among others.—Daniel Marsteller

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