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Drinks

Stoli Vodka Maker Adds CEO From Moet Hennessy To Burnish Brand

SPI Group, the company behind Stolichnaya vodka, has named Moet Hennessy veteran Hugues Pietrini to lead its spirits business, as the company broadens its range of liquor brands.

Pietrini, 47, will become chief executive officer of SPI’s Stoli Group after two decades in the food, beverage and spirits industries, Stoli Group said Thursday. He has been executive vice president of distribution at LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton SE, managing Champagne Ruinart, Krug, Glenmorangie and Belvedere.

The position at Stoli was previously held by Rob Cullins, who stepped down in October after less than two years on the job.

The new chief has his work cut out for him. Vodka volume growth has slowed as consumers turn to other spirits. In response, Stoli Group has expanded its portfolio beyond its namesake brand. In the past two years, closely held SPI Group has acquired the distribution and marketing rights for Achaval-Ferrer and Arinzano wines, Bayou Rum, Kah Tequila and Kentucky Owl Bourbon. Luxembourg-based SPI started a new website for the Stoli Group Wednesday to boost its branding.

“There will be a lot of excitement with some of our newer brands, but expansion will take time and we have to make sure we enter these craft brands into the right places with a strategic approach,” Pietrini said by email. “Across our portfolio, we have made headway in much of Latin America and Central Europe, but we have to continue to work diligently to remain relevant in the midst of difficult trading conditions in some of each region’s most significant countries.”

Stoli Group sells more than 3 million cases a year, according to IWSR. Its products are sold in 170 countries. Pietrini, a graduate of Middlebury College, will begin work at Stoli on Thursday based in Luxembourg.

Pietrini also previously worked for Orangina Schweppes, Allied Domecq, Heineken NV and Unilever.

News by Bloomberg, edited by ESM. To subscribe to ESM: The European Supermarket Magazine, click here.

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