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Brown Brothers CEO steps down

Published:  04 February, 2011

Brown Brothers chief executive Ross Brown has stepped down and a replacement has been found outside of the family.

Brown will remain as executive director, taking on a more global role, and will also maintain his position as chairman of Australia's First Families of Wine.

Roland Wahlquist, who has been general manager for the last decade, has been appointed as Brown's successor.

Brown said: "I have thoroughly enjoyed the excitement and demands of the top job but 10 years had always been the time frame I had set to work at this level. This transition is all about timely succession planning."

He added: "Roland has all the experience, knowledge and energy for the role and I am absolutely delighted he has accepted the challenge and the increased responsibilities."

Wahlquist came to Brown Brothers 21 years ago to head up  winemaking. He was then operations manager before becoming general manager in 2001.

Brown says his role change is not a  step towards retirement, but rather that his ability to "represent the family business globally, contribute to industry bodies and keep abreast of the changing international wine business will increase."

Over the past 10 years, Brown says the demands of management have become so intense that it is impossible to combine these roles while delivering effective commercial leadership.

In the past few years, two members of the fourth generation, John Andrew Brown and Eliza Brown have joined the Brown Brothers board. In addition, Katherine Brown has recently taken on the position of public relations manager.