Satya Sharma, current Regional Managing Director South East Asia and Australasia for William Grant & Sons (WG&S), has been appointed as Lark Distilling Co.’s (ASX: LRK) new CEO.

The appointment comes after the previous CEO, Geoff Bainbridge, resigned under a cloud in February of this year.

The company’s current interim Managing Director, Laura McBain, will continue in her role as interim CEO until 1 May 2023, after which she will retain a seat on the board as a Non-Executive Director.

In a statement released to shareholders, Lark said: ‘The appointment follows a global search process which identified Mr Sharma as the candidate with the demonstrated experience to advance the Company’s growth and strategy.’

Lark Chair, David Dearie, suggests the appointment represents a new direction for the distillery.

“This is an exciting new phase in the growth of the Company,” Dearie said.

“The Board has been working on CEO succession, and we are delighted to secure a CEO of Satya’s calibre and experience to lead the Company through its next phase of growth and expansion.

“According to IWSR data, William Grant &Sons have more than doubled its Asia Pacific sales over the last five years. The Board is very appreciative of the outstanding job that Laura McBain is performing as interim Managing Director since February 2022, and we look forward to her ongoing involvement with the Company as Non-Executive Director.”

Lark also stated that in his current role with WG&S, Sharma has been ‘instrumental in driving the momentum of William Grant & Sons portfolio across South East Asia and the broader Asia Pacific region, developing strong distributor relationships, growing brand equity, and accelerating the contribution of luxury to the group through the launch of the world’s first “The Distiller’s Library” concept.’

Sharma holds degrees in Business and Law from UTS, and has completed the Chartered Accountants Program from the Institute of Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand. He was also recently inducted into the Keepers of the Quaich, a high honour that recognises people who have made an outstanding contribution to the Scotch Whisky Industry.

The new CEO has enjoyed a decade-long career with WG&S, holding a ‘complementary role as a member of the board’ for the company’s Branded Business Unit. He has also worked as Head of Business Strategy & Development, Interim Finance Director APAC, and Head of Commercial while at WG&S.

In the same shareholder statement, material details of Sharma’s employment agreement were also shared, with the new CEO set to earn $675,000 annually, inclusive of salary, superannuation and salary sacrificed terms.

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