James France has announced his plans to leave Vanguard Luxury Brands, the award-winning premium spirits importer and distributor that he founded in 2008.

Lion bought a stake in Vanguard in 2019 and France said as he approached a milestone birthday, he decided it was time to move on.

France said: “After months of deep reflection and as I turn 60, I have come to the decision that it’s the right time for me to leave Vanguard.

“I have worked closely with the Vanguard and Lion teams to ensure a smooth transition. With this now complete, I am so happy to see that Vanguard is now standing strongly on its own two feet and ready to enter the next phase of its growth. 

“Everyone at Lion has been incredibly supportive at every turn and I will always be grateful for this.”  

Danny Connolly, Vanguard’s General Manager said: “James is fully supportive of the future direction of Vanguard and is confident that the business has a bright future. I know James will be a Vanguard advocate for life and look forward to him remaining a member of the extended Vanguard family. We all thank James for creating this wonderful company and for the fantastic contribution he has made to the Australian spirits industry.”

Looking ahead, France added: “Firstly, I’ll take a few months off just to reset.  Maybe even go to one of those places where you go vegan, do yoga and stop drinking.  Actually, probably not. But I do know that I’d like to stay in the industry in some capacity because I don’t want to walk away from over 30 years of friendships, experience and fun. I’ll look at all options maybe even starting up that dog-friendly bar called Sit & Stay.”

France’s last official day at Vanguard will be the 11 May 2023.

Andy Young

Andy joined Intermedia as Editor of The Shout in 2015, writing news on a daily basis and also writing features for National Liquor News. Now Managing Editor of both The Shout and Bars and Clubs.

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