US spirits maker Stoli Group has completed an internal reshuffle, with CFO Chris Caldwell replacing Damian McKinney in the role of global CEO.
The Kentucky Owl brand owner announced the appointment of Caldwell in a release on Monday (10 July) but gave no reason for the departure of McKinney, who had been its CEO since 2020.
According to LinkedIn, McKinney, who steered Stoli Group’s flagship namesake vodka brand through the challenges created by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine last year, left the New York headquartered company last month.
When approached by Just Drinks, the entrepreneur and former marine confirmed he had moved on, but declined to comment further.
Just Drinks has asked Stoli Group to elaborate on McKinney’s exit.
Caldwell takes on the role of CEO after three years as CFO at Stoli Group. Previously he was the CFO of UK-based wine distributor Enotria & Coe, and has also held senior roles at Americana Foods, Fonterra Co-operative Group & Diageo.
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Replacing Caldwell as CFO is Artem Pozdnyakov, previously the Stoli’s group financial controller. Also joining the group is Mark Federighi, who becomes president of Stoli’s operations in North America. Federighi was previously chief sales officer at O’Neill Vintners and Distillers, the tenth-largest US winery.
In a statement, Stoli founder and owner Yuri Shefler said Caldwell would lead the company as it sought to “further diversify through acquisitions and brand expansion”.
“As an integral member of the Stoli Group executive team, Chris has proven time and again that he has the strategic & financial acumen, as well as the leadership skills needed in today’s CEO,” he said. “Ensuring continuity of leadership, Chris and Artem will play pivotal roles as we look to further diversify through acquisitions and brand expansion. We are beyond thrilled that Mark will be joining them in support of our aggressive growth goals.”
Caldwell added: “The past few years at Stoli Group have been incredibly rewarding, and I am immensely proud of the value that I created as CFO. I am honoured to work alongside Artem, Mark and the rest of the leadership team as we begin a new journey of innovation and expansion for Stoli Group.”
In May, Stoli Group invested in The Pathfinder Hemp and Root, a US business marketing a fermented and distilled hemp-based non-alcoholic spirit.
The investment marked the first time the Stoli Vodka brand owner had played in the non-alcoholic spirits category.