'I'm quitting at 65,' says Pierre-Emmanuel Taittinger

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  • Monday 12 May 2014

The president of Taittinger Champagne, Pierre-Emmanuel Taittinger, plans to leave his post within four years, he has said in an interview published in the latest issue of Decanter magazine.

Pierre Emmanuel Taittinger

Unlike his uncle Claude, who ran the Taittinger family business until he was almost 80, Pierre-Emmanuel (pictured) plans to hand over the reins while he is still relatively young.

'I'm quitting at 65,' the 61-year-old said in an interview with John Stimpfig for the June issue of Decanter magazine.

Some observers believe a likely successor is his son, Clovis, who is currently the house's export director. Pierre-Emmanuel's daughter, Vitalie, also works at the firm as artistic director.

'I honestly don't know [who will take over]. God will decide,' he said.

'What I do know is that Taittinger is in very good shape once more. We are very profitable. The last two years have been our best ever,' added Pierre-Emmanuel, who decamps to a medieval manor house without running water or electricity at weekends as 'the perfect antidote to my luxury lifestyle'.

In 2005, six of the seven branches of the Taittinger family voted to sell the family empire, which included several hotels, to Starwood Capital. A year later, Starwood agreed to sell the Champagne division back to a consortium consisting of Pierre-Emmanuel and France's Credit Agricole bank.

'It was a personal quest to restore the family name,' said Pierre-Emmanuel, who as a young man had joined the family business 'out of obligation'.

Today, there are seven 'very supportive' private shareholders. Pierre-Emmanuel's family has the biggest stake, and he has 'executive control' as president, but the family doesn't own a majority share of the business, he said.

Another strand of the Taittinger family has also returned to Champagne in recent years. Claude Taittinger's daughter, Virginie, now produces her own Champagne under the name Virginie T.

Read the full interview with Pierre-Emmanuel Taittinger in this month's Decanter magazine, on sale now.

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