Treasury Wine Estates has announced that Michael Clarke intends to retire from the role of Managing Director and CEO.
He will leave the company in the first quarter of fiscal 2021, providing approximately one year’s notice. Upon his retirement, Clarke intends to return to the UK to focus on spending time with his family.
The Australian Financial Review notes: “His wife, Fiona, does not live with him in Australia and is now dedicating even more time to looking after Clarke’s frail parents in the UK.”
Clarke joined TWE as CEO in March 2014, when its shares were languishing at $3.70. He spearheaded a dramatic reversal of the wine company’s fortunes, with its stock most recently closing at $18.60.
Tim Ford, the company’s Chief Operating Officer, will be appointed to the role of CEO, effective from the retirement of Clarke.
Following an extensive transition period and upon his retirement, Clarke has agreed to act in the capacity of advisor to the company for up to an additional one-year period, to provide strategic support across key initiatives including potential merger and acquisition opportunities.
TWE Chairman Paul Rayner said: “It is without question the extraordinary transformation and outstanding financial returns that TWE has achieved, have been driven by Michael’s leadership over the past five and a half years.
“The structural changes and initiatives delivered by Michael and his team have established TWE as a significantly stronger business than when he first joined the company, and one that is very well placed to continue delivering sustainable, margin accretive growth well into the future.
“I, along with the Board, would like to sincerely thank Michael for his tremendous character and exceptional contribution to our Company, and for his ongoing support during the transition period.”
“Tim has worked alongside Michael, and in a diverse range of executive leadership roles at TWE for the past eight years. As Chief Operating Officer, he has been running the operation of all TWE regions since January 2019, and prior to that as Deputy Chief Operating Officer ran the Asia, Europe and ANZ regions. His depth and breadth of experience within our business is therefore well proven.
“I am confident he is a strong leader to take TWE into its next exciting phase. We have an excellent executive leadership team in place and the company’s five-year strategic plans demonstrate that the best years are still to come. I look forward to seeing the positive momentum in the Company continue.”
Clarke noted to the AFR: “I am absolutely envious that I am not going to be here in three years’ time, or five years’ time.
“I feel like a proud father – I feel upset I am not going to be part of it, though.”