TWE parted company with its CEO David Dearie last month

TWE parted company with its CEO David Dearie last month

The former boss of Treasury Wine Estates has spoken out for the first time following his departure from the group last month. 

In an interview with the Sydney Morning Herald, David Dearie rejected the idea that he lacked the “operational” skills to lead the company and blamed the US$160m writedown in the US on past management. 

Announcing Dearie's depature last month, Treasury's chairman Paul Rayner said the group needed a “leader with a stronger operational focus”. But, in the interview published today (31 October), Dearie responded: ''I don't know what was meant by 'operational' experience. I had been chief operating officer in the past. So you need to ask the chairman what he meant by those comments.” 

Preceding Dearie's exit was a decision in July by TWE to destroy old and out-of-date stock in the US, leading to a AUD160m (US$145.7m) writedown. On this, Dearie said: ''We had a lot more commercial wine than we would like, and that was as a result of decisions made many years ago to focus on the fast moving consumer goods (segment).” 

Dearie, who joined TWE in July 2009 when it was still part of Foster's Group, also argued that during his time the company had made “smart decisions” by laying the groundwork for luxury brands to boost profits, it was reported. 

He added: "You have got to take - and this is always a challenge with the wine category - a long-term view, it's a long-term approach, markets tend to look at things very short-term, so you've got that dichotomy of who is right.

"There are so many failed wine companies who have looked short-term."

Nobody from TWE was available for comment when contacted by just-drinks today. 

Earlier this week, the group was forced to deny allegations of wrongdoing as it faces the prospect of a lawsuit from shareholders over its US business activities.