Brown-Forman has announced that its vice chairman, general counsel and secretary Michael B. Crutcher is to retire.

Crutcher, who has spent 18 years at ther US wine and spirits group, will officially step down on 31 August.
 
"Michael Crutcher has done an extraordinary job in serving Brown-Forman over the last 18 years," said CEO Paul Varga. "He recruited, built and led our team of legal and government relations professionals who have all been critical to Brown-Forman's success."
 
Brown-Forman said it planned to initiate an external search for a replacement, adding that it hopes to be able to name Crutcher's successor before the end of August.