Constellation merger rumours sparked

02 April, 2010

The chief executive of Australian Vintage has stepped down, triggering rumours that the merger with Constellation Brands could be imminent.

Discussions about combining part of Constellation’s Australian and UK operations with Australian Vintage have been ongoing since last November and are expected to be concluded shortly.

Australian Vintage said its chief executive Dane Hudson has “decided to pursue other interests” and will be leaving the company in May.

No successor will be appointed until merger talks have completed, the company reported in a statement.

Over the next two months Hudson will pass his responsibilities on to Neil McGuigan, Australian Vintage’s general manager of production and supply, who will be appointed interim chief executive when Hudson leaves.

Chairman Ian Ferrier said: “Dane has worked closely with the board in the restructuring and repositioning of AV during one of the most challenging times in the history of Australian wine.

“He has shown strong leadership and commitment during this demanding period and now feels the time is right for a change. On behalf of the board, I thank him for his significant contribution and wish him well in the next stage of his career.”?Hudson added: “I have thoroughly enjoyed leading Australian Vintage. It is a company with outstanding people, products, suppliers and customers. From both a personal and career perspective this marks the right time for me to move on as AV is well positioned to embark on future opportunities.”

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