Southcorp Wines, Australia's biggest wine producer, has hired a U.S. native as its new head, replacing Bruce Kemp, who left in December. Thomas Park, 52, will begin his position as executive general manager in early March.
Born and educated in the United States, Park has spent the past 12 years working for Kraft Foods International, currently as executive vice president overseeing Kraft companies and joint ventures in Asia, Australia and New Zealand. He lives in Australia and is active in business organizations there. Prior to joining Kraft, Park held senior management positions with General Foods Ltd. in the United States and the United Kingdom.
"Tom's extensive experience in marketing internationally branded consumer products gives him ideal qualifications to lead Southcorp Wines in its next growth stage," said Graham Kraehe, managing director and CEO of parent company Southcorp Ltd.
Southcorp's Australian brands include Penfolds, Lindemans, Seaview, Seppelt and Wynns Coonawarra Estate. In addition, the company is involved in two international joint ventures: La Perouse, with Les Vignerons de Val d'Orbieu, in France's Languedoc-Roussillon region; and Seven Peaks, with Paragon Vineyards, in California's Central Coast.
In the 1999 fiscal year, Southcorp, which is a publicly held company, reached $429 million in wine sales. More than $200 million of the total came from international markets, including $79 million from North America.
Much of that financial success was achieved under the direction of Kemp, who had no previous experience in the wine industry. Kemp announced his resignation in September 1999 after 29 years with Southcorp, more than seven of them with the wine division. He left to have more free time and to act as a consultant for medium-sized wineries looking to expand into the global market. Brian Johnston, executive general manager of wine operations, has been acting chief executive since Kemp's departure.
Read the report on Bruce Kemp's departure:
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