Southern Wine & Spirits of America names Kevin Fennessey new EVP of commercial strategy; Gerald Rivero, EVP and general manager of Coastal-Pacific Wine & Spirits division, to expand his role to control markets; new structure effective immediately

MIAMI , May 30, 2014 (press release) – Brad Vassar, Executive Vice President, Chief Operating Officer of Southern Wine & Spirits of America, Inc. (Southern) — the nation’s leading wine and spirits distributor with operations in 35 states — announced today an initial step in Southern’s new commercial organizational structure. This restructuring is designed to capitalize on changes in the marketplace and enhance Southern’s competitiveness in the industry. The new structure is effective immediately.

Commenting on the announcement, Vassar said, “Southern’s commercial organizational structure and strategy are evolving to reflect changes within Southern, our competitive landscape and the wine and spirits industry broadly. Our enhanced commercial approach will help Southern to meet and exceed the needs and aspirations of our suppliers and customers. The structure I am announcing today will include a revised leadership team structure and new reporting relationships to streamline decision-making and apply best practices for greater execution, scale and impact across the value chain.”

Kevin Fennessey, current Senior Vice President, Sales & Marketing, will take on the new role of Executive Vice President, Commercial Strategy and will continue to report to Vassar. New corporate commercial functions under Fennessey will include roles for Commercial Corporate Initiatives, Multi-Cultural Marketing and Sales Force Effectiveness — in addition to Fennessey’s existing commercial reports in the areas of On- and Off-Premise National Accounts, Direct Marketing, and Business Intelligence. Fennessey will work closely with Southern’s Strategic Programs Group, Business Solutions Group, as well as Southern’s Sales divisions. Primarily, this group will establish a company-wide commercial strategy platform to provide leadership, identify sales and marketing needs, and develop solutions and tools for driving industry-leading best practices.

Regarding his appointment, Fennessey commented, “I’m truly honored and excited to take on this new commercial role at Southern. Our senior executive team has done a tremendous job over the last decade of building scale and coverage across 35 state markets and aligning Southern closely with many leading supplier and customer partners. Now we will build even greater commercial capabilities and tools in support of our enterprise strategy of providing unmatched value for our trading partners.”

As part of Vassar’s new commercial organization, Gerald (“Gerry”) Rivero, Jr., Executive Vice President, General Manager of the Coastal-Pacific Wine & Spirits (CPWS) division, will add the control markets to his current open-markets scope. Bob Swartz, current Executive Vice President, General Manager of North American Spirits & Wine (NASW) — the dedicated Diageo and Moët Hennessy control states brokerage organization — will continue in his NASW leadership role, but will now report directly to Rivero. Following this change, the dedicated CPWS division will now manage or oversee all markets where Southern partners with Diageo and Moët Hennessy portfolios.

“I have been with the Southern Family for 29 years and am appreciative of this opportunity to coordinate our dedicated division activities in both open and control markets alike. Along with Bob’s leadership team, we will leverage our world-class commercial organization to serve the interests of our suppliers, customers and Southern,” said Rivero on his appointment.

Consistent with Rivero’s role, other key supplier executives will directly report to Vassar. In addition, the Southern brokerage divisions’ Executive Vice President, General Manager-Control States Peter Hickey will continue to report directly to Vassar as well.

Over the coming months, Vassar will announce additional strategic leadership appointments — including a new Commercial Finance leadership role to oversee pricing and promotions strategy as well as commercial finance responsibilities for the enterprise.

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, the District of Columbia, Florida, Kentucky, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Maryland, 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. Southern also holds operating licenses and permits in Nebraska and Texas. On a national basis, Southern Wine & Spirits of America, Inc. employs more than 14,000 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:

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