Wine and spirits group Brown-Forman has unveiled its new board line-up.

The US company said yesterday (1 March) that, with current chairman Owsley Brown retiring in September, the changes will "further the smooth leadership transition process already underway".

Paul Varga, the company's president and CEO, will succeed Brown as chairman from 1 August. At the same time, George Garvin Brown IV, a company director and corporation vice president, will take on the new role of presiding chairman, while continuing to serve as Jack Daniel's brand director for Europe and Africa in London.

James Welch will join the board this month, while CFO Phoebe Wood became executive vice president to vice chairman of Brown-Forman yesterday. Stephen O'Neil will retire from the board as planned at the end of next month.

"When fully implemented later this year, these changes will bring to a close the remarkable 40-year managerial career of Owsley Brown II," Paul Varga said. "As the company's principal leader since 1993, he has led Brown-Forman through one of its most impressive periods of growth in the company's distinguished 137 years.

"We look forward to growing the company even further from the strong foundation that has been built by Owsley and many others before him."

As well as Jack Daniel's, Brown-Forman also owns Southern Comfort, Finlandia Vodka and Tequila Herradura, among others.