Editor's Viewpoint - Trylinski Calls Time at Belvedere
The news this week that Krzysztof Trylinski is stepping down at Belvedere brings the curtain down on a professional chapter that has been nothing if not colourful.
Latterly as chairman, but previously - and more prominently - as CEO, Trylinski has never been far from the headlines, certainly not in the last seven years. Having founded the French company in 1991 with Jacques Rouvroy, Trylinski was instrumental in overseeing a company that grew to post full-year sales of EUR910.6m, and welcomed movie star Bruce Willis on to its share register.
He also oversaw far more troubled times than any one executive really deserves.
Having sold off the majority of Belvedere, Trylinski and Rouvroy pulled together enough investment to buy out Caribbean conglomerate CL Financial in 2007. Having floated the company in 2008, Trylinski welcomed Willis onboard a year later, initially as the clothes-horse for Belvedere's Sobieski vodka brand, then latterly as a shareholder.
In between, Belvedere was placed under bankruptcy protection by French courts and ran into trouble when it was accused of breaching its own rules on share purchases.
The rollercoaster showed no sign of letting up, with a pair of investment funds chasing Trylinski and Rouvroy for EUR15m (then US$21m), the company losing its credit protection, and Rouvroy calling time on his tenure in 2011.
Throughout all this, Trylinski remained on deck before stepping down as CEO earlier this year. This week's news will see Trylinski depart the group altogether in September.
Although I never met Trylinski, I feel like I know him a little, probably thanks to the amount of coverage he and his company have generated for just-drinks in recent years. I wish I had met him, as I bet he'd have quite a story - or two - to tell.
Farewell, then, Krzysztof. You leave us with, at very least, these excellent moments:
Earlier this week, to general surprise, French spirits group La Martiniquaise Bardinet revealed that it has been a long-standing shareholder in Belvedere - since yesterday (30 June) re-named as Marie ...
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