US Ste. Michelle Wine Estates chief steps down amid leadership shake-up

US wine group Ste. Michelle Wine Estates president has stepped down amid a flurry of leadership changes, the company announced.

David Dearie is leaving the group after two years serving as president and CEO to be closer to his family and “pursue his other interests”.

It comes only a year after the company was bought by private-equity firm Sycamore Partners Management for US$1.2bn.

The group has now aligned itself into three commercial divisions – Washington, Oregon and California – and appointed a president for each region.

Each geographical division will be supported by shared services.

The wine group is the largest in the Pacific Northwest, farming more than 30,000 acres across Washington, Oregon, and California.

Its portfolio includes Chateau Ste. Michelle in Washington, Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars in California and Erath in Oregon.

Toby Whitmoyer, who joined the company as chief growth officer earlier this year after 11 years at Bacardi, will become president for the Washington division.

Amy Prosenjak, president and CEO of A to Z Wineworks, will become president in Oregon. Ste. Michelle Wine Estates expanded its presence in Oregon with A to Z Wineworks last month in its first deal since being sold by Altria Group.

The California division will be headed by David Bowman, who took over as CEO of Stag’s Leap in January after a long career in the trade including stints at E&J Gallo Winery and Jackson Family Wines, both in California.

Mike Lee, who joined the group January as chief financial officer, will continue to serve as CFO and president of operations and supply chain.

Whitmoyer, Prosenjak, Bowman and Lee will report directly to the group’s board of directors.

Ste. Michelle Wine Estates distributes wines in over 100 countries and is the exclusive US importer of Italy wine portfolio Marchesi Antinori, Chile’s Haras de Pirque wines, Champagne Nicolas Feuillatte and New Zealand’s Villa Maria Estate.

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