Walter Klenz, who was chairman and chief executive of California's Beringer Wine Estates when it was sold last year to Foster's Group, will be running the global wine operations of the merged American and Australian companies as of Oct. 1.
Klenz, 56, will replace Terry Davis as managing director of Beringer Blass Wine Estates, said Foster's president and CEO Ted Kunkel on Friday. Davis is leaving to take up the position of chief executive of Coca-Cola's Australian operations.
After the sale of Beringer was announced in August 2000, Klenz became CEO of Beringer Blass' U.S. wine operations, which include Beringer, Chateau St. Jean, Chateau Souverain, Meridian, St. Clement and Stags' Leap Winery. He will stay at Beringer Blass' offices in Napa Valley and, from there, will also oversee the Australian wineries, including Wolf Blass, Greg Norman Estates, Jamiesons Run and Black Opal.
Klenz joined Beringer Vineyards in 1976 and headed the company when it went public in 1997.
Foster's purchased Beringer for $1.5 billion and combined it with its Mildara Blass wine division, creating a global alcoholic-beverage powerhouse with annual revenues of more than $2 billion. Beringer Blass, the name given to Foster's wine division after the merger, now sells more than 60 percent of its volume in North America. Beringer Blass claims it is the third most profitable wine company in the world, having reported earnings, before interest and tax, of $171 million for the first half of 2001.
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