Treasury Wine Estates’ Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer Michael Clarke has announced his intention to retire from the role in the first quarter of the 2021 financial year.
Clarke, who joined the company six years ago, said his intention is to move back to the UK in order to spend more time with his family.
Speaking this morning about Clarke’s plans, TWE’s Chairman Paul Rayner said: “Michael Clarke has informed the TWE Board of his intention to retire from the role of Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer in the first quarter of fiscal 2021.
“Michael has provided the Board with approximately one year’s notice, which is more than the required six months’ notice.
“Upon his retirement Michael intends to return to the UK.
He added: “I along with the board, and pleased to announce that Tim Ford, the company’s Chief Operating Officer, will be appointed to the role of Chief Executive Officer effective from when Michael retires in the first quarter of fiscal 2021. This reflects the company’s strong succession planning.
“Following an extensive transition period, and upon his retirement, Michael is agreed to act in the capacity of adviser to the company for up to an additional one year period and will provide TWE with strategic support across key initiatives, which include a potential mergers and acquisition opportunities and therefore, it is important to note that TWE will continue to operate business as usual.
“Given the long transition period there is no change in our strategic direction or a five-year plans.
“There is absolutely no doubt that TWE has undergone an extraordinary transformation and delivered outstanding financial returns under Michael’s leadership over the past five and a half years the structural changes and initiatives delivered by Mike and his team have established TWE as a significantly stronger business than when he first joined the company.
“TWE is very well placed to continue delivering sustainable margin the creative growth well into the future. I, along with the Board would like to sincerely thank Michael for his outstanding character and exceptional contribution to accompany and for his ongoing leadership during the transition period.”
Speaking about the decision, Clarke said: “Regarding changes at TWE I would encourage folks to read our recent investor day deck that is on our website. It explains all the significant changes that we have made to strengthen TWE over the past six years to achieve these changes, like the route to market changes in Asia and the United States.
“This required strengthened and enhanced capability. Hence the changes that we’ve made across the leadership team over the past six years. On occasions, we’ve made mistakes with some of these people changes and instead of hiding that, we address the mistake and fix it. We do not have the time and energy for facades. It is a case of fix things and move on.
“We would never have achieved the structural changes and growth without changing and strengthening the leadership of TWE. A team that investors saw at our recent investor day. I feel very comfortable that we have the strongest ever leadership team in place that I and Tim are very proud to lead as we continue with our growth agenda going forward.
“Change is a good thing in a high growth company and is necessary to displace your competition. I have worked very closely with Tim over the past five and a half years and he is an outstanding and strong leader who will continue to drive our growth agenda into the future. He has proven his credentials across all of the key operational aspects of our business, and has spent considerable time working in our key geographies.”
Ford will take over the leadership of TWE when Clarke retires, and he said: “I’m excited about the opportunity to take TWE into the next phase of our journey, and I feel very, very confident we have the team and the strategy in place to continue to drive growth going forward.
“But one important point is we all remain absolutely focused, including myself and specifically myself on driving the current year’s results. And there are also lots of side that I really appreciate the fact that this will be a lengthy transition period between Mike and myself as we continue to work closely together. And this is a genuine positive for me. And in reality, as I said, it’s business as usual.”