Chicago and NEW YORK, 15. March 2021. – Breakthru Beverage Group, one of North America’s largest beverage distributors with operations in the United States and Canada, today announced that President and CEO Greg Baird will retire at the end of the year. The Board of Directors is actively seeking Breakthru’s next CEO as part of a thoughtful process of succession planning and ongoing business transformation. Both internal and external candidates will be considered in the search. To ensure a smooth transition, Mr. Baird will remain with the Company as President and CEO until his successor is appointed and will serve as an advisor to the Company for a period of time.
It has been an incredible honor to lead Breakfruit Beverage through five years of transformation. Together with our entire team, we have created an industry-leading company that consistently delivers excellence to our suppliers, customers and other stakeholders, said Baird. The passion and expertise of our team is the real reason for our success and I am confident that Breakthru, supported by our exceptional and highly dedicated management team, is well positioned to grow in the future. I have worked with our owners and board of directors to prepare a thoughtful transition, and I am proud to hand over the reins to the new CEO who will lead the company into its next phase of success.
Charles Merinoff, co-chairman of the board, said: Greg is truly a great leader and a good friend to me and our entire team. Since becoming CEO, he has not only led the development of the company, but has also brought us together as a Breakthru family. We will miss his energetic spirit, compassion and dedication, but we continue to look forward to Breacrue’s future.
Rockwell Wirtz, co-chair of the board of directors, said: We are grateful to Greg for his vision and tremendous leadership. Among his many accomplishments and contributions, Greg led the integration of Charmer Sunbelt Group and Wirtz Beverage into Breakthru Beverage Group. He led and implemented Breakthru, a business strategy that underscores the company’s commitment to bold strategic initiatives and long-term growth and performance for the company and its stakeholders. It has also allowed Breakthru to expand into new territories, as evidenced by the launch of Kindred in Canada. Under his leadership, Breakthru completed a series of mergers and acquisitions, gained significant market share and new supplier relationships, and transformed its digital and e-commerce strategy.
Danny Wirtz, vice president of the board of directors, said: Together, Greg and the Board have worked diligently to establish a strong leadership structure and thoughtful succession process to ensure stability and a smooth transition of leadership. In this context, we are conducting a thorough search for Greg’s successor. We are confident that we will find a new CEO who appreciates our generations long legacy of service and commitment to our people, our portfolio and our culture, and who has a vision to lead us to the next phase of our evolution.
After holding various executive positions at Charmer Sunbelt Group, Baird became president and CEO of Breakthru in January 2016 following the merger of Charmer Sunbelt Group and Wirtz Beverage. This combination brought together two pioneering family businesses, both rich in history and shared values, to become North America’s largest beverage company.
During Mr. Baird’s tenure, Breakthru Beverage Group has grown to become the largest North American producer of alcoholic beverages, with operations in 14 U.S. markets and in Canada, 6,500 employees and annual sales of $6 billion. The company’s transgenerational legacy remains a constant pillar of its corporate culture and success. As a family business, the focus will always be on people, portfolio and culture.
About Breakthru Beverage Group
Breakthru Beverage Group is one of the largest beverage wholesalers in the United States and the largest broker in Canada, representing a full portfolio of spirits, wine and beer. Breakthru is committed to diversity, equality and inclusion and supports a variety of well-known organizations and local philanthropic initiatives in its North American offices. In all markets, Breakthru implements a flexible and insightful approach to sales, marketing and operations. An active participant in the economy, the family business is a guardian of its heritage and a master of innovation. For more information, see www.BreakthruBev.com.