Southern Wine & Spirits of America appoints Cleighton Leong to VP of its Commercial Intelligence Platform

MIAMI , January 17, 2013 (press release) – Southern Wine & Spirits of America, Inc. (Southern), the nation’s largest wine and spirits distributor with current operations in 35 states, is proud to announce the appointment of Cleighton Leong to Vice President, Commercial Intelligence Platform (CIP). Leong will head a newly-created CIP team that will serve as a coordinated, enterprise capability that develops and supports leading analytical and commercial tools to enhance marketing insights, selling execution and market-level competitiveness. The CIP team will report into Southern’s Corporate Sales & Marketing organization and will leverage close coordination with and support from Southern’s Business Solutions Group (BSG).

Commenting on the appointment, Southern’s Executive Vice President, General Manager Brad Vassar said, “Creating the CIP group and appointing Cleighton as its leader underscores Southern’s dedication and commitment to over-deliver for our supplier and customer partners through the utilization of best-in-class sales tools and information reporting and analysis.” To start, the CIP team will be working on tools such as a mobile sales reporting application for GMs as well as the next generation of Southern Wine Online (SWO).

Leong has over 11 years in the wine and spirits industry — including the last seven with Southern’s National Category Management & Business Intelligence group. Before joining Southern, he worked for over four years with a leading Napa Valley winery in their Strategic Insights Group. Prior to that, Leong spent over eight years at ACNielsen. He received his Master of Business Administration degree at Indiana University and his bachelor’s degree at UC-Berkeley. Reporting to Leong will be Mark Gavenda (Director, CIP), Cameron Stoeckel (Director, CIP) and Susan Wittschiebe (Manager, CIP). Currently, Gavenda, Stoeckel and Wittschiebe are in Southern’s National Category Management & Business Intelligence group. Each has a strong breadth of experience — ranging from 10 to 20 years — in the wine and spirits industry.

Kevin Fennessey, Senior Vice President, Sales & Marketing, added, “The newly-constituted CIP group will build on a remarkably strong track record of accomplishment in our National Category Management & Business Intelligence group led by Thomas McDevitt and Cleighton. Over the past seven-plus years at Southern, these two executives have been true innovators — devising, developing and delivering the most-compelling business intelligence tools of our industry. Historically, Cleighton has led category management and business intelligence (BI) design and development efforts, preparing him well for his new role as the head of CIP.”

This appointment was effective January 1st — with Leong continuing to report directly to McDevitt, Vice President, National Category Management & Business Intelligence.

About Southern Wine & Spirits of America, Inc.

Southern Wine & Spirits of America, Inc. is the nation’s largest wine and spirits distributor and broker with operations in 35 markets. The multi-state distributor currently operates in: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Kentucky, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia and Wyoming. In addition, Southern has a presence in Maryland and the District of Columbia through a joint venture with F.P. Winner Wine & Spirits as well as a joint venture in Minnesota with J.J. Taylor Distributing Company. Southern also holds operating licenses and permits in Nebraska and Texas. On a national basis, Southern Wine & Spirits of America, Inc. employs more than 12,500 team members. Southern urges all retail customers and adult consumers to market, sell, serve and enjoy its products responsibly. For more information about Southern and its responsible consumption program, see:


Southern Wine & Spirits of America, Inc.
Lee Brian Schrager, 305-625-4171 x 1040
Vice President, Corporate Communications & National Events

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