Brown-Forman Combines Wines & Spirits Organizations
Louisville, KY, May 9, 2006 — Brown-Forman Chief Executive Officer Paul Varga announced today that the company is refining its organizational structure to further advance Brown-Forman’s overarching goal of becoming the best brand builder in the beverage alcohol industry.
Effective July 1, the company is combining its now separate wines and spirits sales and marketing organizations into one, unified Brown-Forman team. In addition, wines and spirits production operations will report to the head of global production, and the company’s corporate staff will be realigned to support the new integrated beverage organization. The changes will be most significant in the U.S., the company’s largest market.
“Brown-Forman’s business is in excellent shape and it is from this position of strength that we are realigning our organization to help ensure our continued growth and prosperity in the future,” stated Varga. “The newly designed organization will allow Brown-Forman to utilize its full portfolio breadth and strength in partnering with distributors and retail customers, while also creating stronger focus on brand-building activities directed to consumers.
“We are very excited about the potential to continue building on our excellent performance over the last several years,” said Varga, “and we believe a unified wines and spirits team will help us achieve our ultimate goal of becoming the best brand-building company in our industry.”
Reporting to Varga effective July 1 will be:
- Jim Bareuther, Chief Operating Officer
- Mark McCallum, Chief Brands Officer
- Phoebe Wood, Chief Financial Officer
- Jim Chiles, Head of Global Production
- Jim Welch, Vice Chairman, Head of Human Resources & Strategy
- Michael Crutcher, Vice Chairman and General Counsel
- Lois Mateus, Senior Vice President, Corporate Communications and Services
- Phil Lichtenfels, Chief of Staff
Brown-Forman Corporation is a diversified producer and marketer of fine quality consumer products, including Jack Daniel’s, Southern Comfort, Finlandia Vodka, Canadian Mist, Fetzer and Bolla Wines, Korbel California Champagnes, and Hartmann Luggage.
Important Note on Forward-Looking Statements:
This report contains statements, estimates, or projections that constitute “forward-looking statements” as defined under U.S. federal securities laws. Generally, the words “expect,” “believe,” “intend,” “estimate,” “will,” “anticipate,” and “project,” and similar expressions identify a forward-looking statement, which speaks only as of the date the statement is made. Except as required by law, we do not intend to update or revise any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events, or otherwise. We believe that the expectations and assumptions with respect to our forward-looking statements are reasonable. But by their nature, forward-looking statements involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors that in some cases are out of our control. These factors could cause our actual results to differ materially from Brown-Forman’s historical experience or our present expectations or projections. Here is a non-exclusive list of such risks and uncertainties:
- changes in general economic conditions, particularly in the United States where we earn the majority of our profits;
- lower consumer confidence or purchasing in the wake of catastrophic events;
- tax increases, whether at the federal or state level or in major international markets and/or tariff barriers or other restrictions affecting beverage alcohol;
- restrictions on alcohol marketing, including advertising and promotion, as a result of stricter governmental policies adopted either in the United States or globally;
- adverse developments in the class action lawsuits filed against Brown-Forman and other spirits, beer and wine manufacturers alleging that our industry conspired to promote the consumption of alcohol by those under the legal drinking age;
- a strengthening U.S. dollar against foreign currencies, especially the British Pound;
- reduced bar, restaurant, hotel and travel business in wake of terrorist attacks or threats, such as occurred in September, 2001 in the U.S. and in July, 2005 in London;
- lower consumer confidence or purchasing associated with rising energy prices;
- a decline in U.S. spirits consumption as might be indicated by recent published trends suggesting a slight reduction in the growth rate of distilled spirits consumption;
- longer-term, a change in consumer preferences, social trends or cultural trends that results in the reduced consumption of our premium spirits brands;
- changes in distribution arrangements in major markets that limit our ability to market our products;
- increases in the price of energy or raw materials, including grapes, grain, wood, glass, and plastic;
- excess wine inventories or a further world-wide oversupply of grapes;
- adverse developments as a result of state investigations of beverage alcohol industry trade practices of suppliers, distributors and retailers.