Family-owned whisky and spirits firm William Grant & Sons said chief executive Stella David (pictured above) has decided to step down at the end of February 2016 and will be succeeded by chief commercial officer Simon Hunt.
David joined William Grant in August 2009 and has overseen the growth of the company’s portfolio of brands which includes Glenfiddich, The Balvenie, Grant’s, Hendrick’s Gin and Drambuie.
William Grant’s annual sales in recent years have been around £1 billion.
David will now focus on her portfolio of non-executive directorships. David holds non-executive positions on the board of C&J Clark Ltd and HomeServe plc and served seven years as a non-executive director of Nationwide Building Society.
David oversaw the acquisition of Tullamore D.E.W. Irish Whiskey and Drambuie and the development of brands such as Hendrick’s gin and The Balvenie single malt Scotch.
“We are all very grateful for Stella’s enormous contribution to the business in recent years,” said Glenn Gordon, William Grant & Sons chairman.
“In particular, she has brought an exceptional level of energy and drive to our business, while significantly enhancing the premiumness of our brands and their appeal to consumers.
“This has evidenced itself both in the company’s results and the overall progress of the business in terms of the depth of talent we are privileged to have and the amount of passion that is felt all over the company.”
David said: “I am immensely proud of my time at William Grant & Sons … it has been an incredible journey, with a focus on building brands, planning for the long term, working with a talented array of people and very supportive family shareholders.”
Simon Hunt has been with William Grant since October 2007, initially as managing director, North America and in April 2013 he was promoted to chief commercial officer.
Hunt will take over as CEO on March 1 and David will continue in an advisory capacity until the end of May.
“I am delighted to be given the opportunity to lead the great team at William Grant & Sons and build on the strong momentum we have been achieving with our world class, premium brands,” said Hunt.