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Treasury Wine Estates appoints industry outsider as new chief executive

Published:  20 February, 2014

Treasury Wine Estates has appointed industry outsider Michael Clarke, veteran of Kraft Foods and Coca-Cola, as its new managing director and chief executive.

Michael ClarkeMichael ClarkeTreasury Wine Estates's new chief executive joins from British firm Premier Foods, and has experience across Kraft Foods and Coca-Cola.

Clarke joins from London-based Premier Foods, where he was chief executive, and credited with orchestrating a significant turnaround, albeit incomplete, of that company. He left in June last year. Prior to that he was European president and sat on the global operating board at Kraft Foods. He also spent 12 years in senior roles at the Coca-Cola Company.

Treasury has been on the hunt for a new chief executive since the departure of David Dearie in September 2013, following the move to destroy "old and aged coimmercial stock" in the US, which forced it to record one-off charges of up to A$160 million for the 2013 fiscal year, which ended on June 30. 

Treasury Wine Estates chairman, Paul Rayner, said: "Mike's work on some of the world's leading brands is second to none, and he has previously lived and worked in Australia, America, Asia and Europe; all key regions where TWE operates. In addition, he has extensive agri-business and consumer drinks experience. In short, he has proven leadership ability and a track record of consistently driving improved business results. Accordingly, the Board believe he is the ideal individual to be TWE's next CEO.

"Our recruitment process generated significant interest internationally and we were privileged to have an excellent short list of candidates for this role. Mike was chosen because of his strong balance of strategic and operational skills, and his truly global perspective".

Clarke added: "I'm incredibly excited to have been given the opportunity to return to Australia and lead Treasury Wine Estates and its portfolio of truly iconic wine brands. I recognise that TWE, like most companies, has its challenges but I believe the opportunities are immense, and I look forward to working with my colleagues across the business to ensure that these are fully realised".

Mr Clarke will join Treasury in March, subject to obtaining the necessary visa approvals, and will work jointly with interim chief executive, Warwick Every-Burns, on a handover until formally starting as chief executive on March 31.

Treasury's half year results are out today. Full story here.