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TREASURY Wine Estates (TWE) has reached outside the wine sector for its next chief executive, picking a former Kraft Foods and Coca-Cola manager to run its global wine business.

The company announced this morning Michael Clarke would join TWE as its new chief, following last year’s shock ejection of former boss David Dearie.

The new CEO is a former president of Kraft Foods European business and a 12 year veteran of the Coca-Cola Company.

According to The Sydney Morning Herald, Clarke’s CV does not include any direct leadership roles in the wine sector.

It is unclear if the market and investors will welcome Clarke’s appointment, given his lack of wine experience and whether he has the necessary skills to reverse the global winemaker’s collapsing earnings in the midst of a tough trading environment across much of the world for the wine sector.

It comes as TWE recently issued its second profit downgrade following a poor performance by its US wine arm and continued headwinds across Australia and Europe which has crunched wine sales and group earnings.

This morning TWE also reported its pre-tax earnings had dived 37.6 per cent to $45.8m, while revenue remained flat, up only 1.6 per cent to $864.2m.

Net profit was $106.2m, up against a profit of $52.3m in the first half last year, but included a $80.5m tax benefit.

Source: Eli Greenblat, The Sydney Morning Herald.

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