Talks with Constellation "continue"

Talks with Constellation "continue"

The CEO of Australian Vintage is to step down.

Dane Hudson will leave the company in May "to pursue other interests", Australian Vintage announced today (25 March).

Neil McGuigan, the group's general manager of production and supply, including for the firm's flagship McGuigan wine brand, will become interim CEO until a permanent replacement is announced.

The move will prompt speculation about the progress of merger talks between Australian Vintage and Constellation Brands' Australian wine business.

Hudson, who has steered Australian Vintage through a tough restructuring process in the last couple of years, said: "I have thoroughly enjoyed leading Australian Vintage.

"From both a personal and career perspective this marks the right time for me to move on as Australian Vintage is well positioned to embark on future opportunities."

The company is in talks with rival wine group Constellation Brands over a potential merger of the two firms' Australian wine businesses.

Australian Vintage would have control of a merged entity, which would likely include Constellation's Hardys wine arm.

Discussions "continue", Australian Vintage said today. It will announced the appointment of a permanent CEO once the talks have been completed, it said.

Australian Vintage chairman Ian Ferrier said: "Dane has shown strong leadership and commitment during this demanding period. I think him for his sigificant contribution and wish him well in the next stage of his career."