USA: Founder's Family Steps down from Board Chair of Constellation Brands

Constellation Brands, an American producer and marketer of beer, wine, and spirits and the largest beer import company in the US, announced the retirement of Rob Sands (64) from his role as Chair of Constellation’s Board of Directors. In a statement, the company said that Sands will not stand for re-election as Board Chair following the company’s Annual Meeting of Stockholders on July 18, 2023. Sands will continue in his capacity as a Board member for the company.

The Sands family is the founder and the largest individual shareholder of Constellation Brands. Last year, the Sand’s that had a controlling stake in the company, offered to give up their voting control. By converting its Class B shares to Class A shares, the family lost about two thirds of their voting rights, reducing its voting control from nearly 60% although they remained the company’s largest shareholders. (, 4.4.2022)

“I’ve had the distinct privilege of serving as Board Chair and Chief Executive Officer at Constellation for more than 16 years, and in that time the company has realized tremendous success,” said Constellation Brands Board Chair Rob Sands. “Given the continued strong performance of our business and following Constellation’s recent transition from a dual class to a single class common stock structure, I believe the time is right to transition leadership of our Board. I look forward to working with our new Board Chair and my fellow Constellation Board members as we look to further build on the company’s legacy of success.”

Sands has served as Constellation’s Board Chair since 2019 and served as the company’s Chief Executive Officer from 2007 to 2019. Under Sands’ leadership as Chief Executive Officer and Board Chair, the company has achieved significant growth becoming the leading beer supplier in the high-end of the U.S. beer market, increasing net sales by more than 80 percent, and becoming one of the fastest growing consumer packaged goods companies over the past decade.

Constellation’s Board has engaged in a process to identify a new Board Chair. Following its Annual Meeting of Stockholders on July 18, 2023 the company announced the election of two new independent directors but did not name a new Board Chair.

Luca Zaramella, Chief Financial Officer of Mondelēz International, and William (Bill) T. Giles, former Chief Financial Officer of AutoZone, were elected to the company’s Board of Directors effective July 18, 2023. The 11 incumbent Directors that stood for reelection have each been reelected to the Board for a one-year term. Together with the two new directors Constellation’s Board will comprise in future of 13 members. This “comes as part of a comprehensive Board refreshment and governance enhancement process the company launched following its transition from a dual to a single class share structure last year,” the company said in a statement.

“On behalf of my fellow Constellation Board members, I want to thank Rob for his leadership as Board Chair and during his more than three decades with the company,” said Constellation Brands President and Chief Executive Officer Bill Newlands. “We look forward to Rob’s continued contributions as a Board member as we chart the next phase of profitable growth for our company in a rapidly evolving and dynamic marketplace.”

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