The longtime head of spirits maker Campari, who orchestrated a revival in demand for Italian cocktails including the Negroni and Aperol Spritz, is stepping down.
(Bloomberg) — The longtime head of spirits maker Campari, who orchestrated a revival in demand for Italian cocktails including the Negroni and Aperol Spritz, is stepping down.
Bob Kunze-Concewitz, who led Davide Campari-Milano NV for 16 years as chief executive officer, will retire in April of next year, the company said on Tuesday.
Kunze-Concewitz was the architect of a surge in demand from European and US drinkers for the company’s namesake product, the key ingredient in a Negroni cocktail. He also oversaw a spike in sales of Aperol, as the spritz became a trendy summer aperitif across Europe and beyond, with sales soaring 12-fold since 2007 to become Campari’s top brand.
The news left some investors reaching for a bracer. Campari shares fell as much as 6.1% in Milan on Tuesday, and were down 5.1% at 11 a.m. local time.
The share reaction “points to the market’s recognition of his impact on the business, growing aperitif bitters from a regional drink to a global phenomenon,” Jefferies analyst Edward Mundy wrote in a note.
Campari said Matteo Fantacchiotti, the managing director for the Asia-Pacific region, will take on the role of deputy CEO effective immediately. He’ll then succeed Kunze-Concewitz, who’s been with the firm for 18 years, as CEO in April.
Kunze-Concewitz will remain on the board as a non-executive director.
Under his tenure, sales jumped from €1.8 billion ($1.9 billion) in 2019 to forecasts of €3 billion in 2023.
The CEO said in a recent interview with Bloomberg TV that “revenge conviviality” was driving consumers back out to bars and restaurants post-pandemic to quaff its products. He also said Campari expects half its future growth to come via acquisitions.
Read More: Campari CEO Says Post-Covid ‘Revenge’ Trend Fuels US Consumption
Campari last year bought US bourbon maker Wilderness Trail Distillery LLC, as the CEO signaled the importance of bourbon and American whiskey for further growth. Kunze-Concewitz oversaw 27 acquisitions in all since 2007 for an overall investment of €3 billion.
(Updates with details from CEO’s tenure)
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