Don St Pierre Jr, co-founder of China-based importer ASC Fine Wines, is to leave the company at the end of the year, it has been announced.

Don St Pierre Jr, will cease to be a member of ASC Fine Wines’ board of directors on 31 December and will also leaving his role as senior advisor to parent company Suntory Wines International, ASC announced.

St Pierre Jr established ASC Fine Wines with his father, Don St Pierre Sr, in 1996, and has since seen the firm become of the biggest importers of premium wine in China.

‘The past 19 years have been an incredibly rewarding journey, but it is now time to move on to the other challenges and opportunities that life has in store for me and my family,’ St Pierre Jr said.

‘When my father and I started ASC Fine Wines in 1996, our vision was to bring the best quality wines from around the world to wine drinkers throughout China.

‘The success we achieved is a testament to, and a result of, the passion, dedication and teamwork from the many wonderful people who worked at ASC over the past 19 years.’

The move comes 18 months after St Pierre Jr resigned as ASC’s executive chairman, following his decision to relocate with his family from Shanghai to California.

He stepped down as ASC CEO in 2012, three years after Japanese food and drinks group Suntory bought a controlling 70% stake in the business. He was replaced by John Watkins, who stepped down earlier this year and was, in turn, replaced by Bruno Baudry.

ASC now has a staff of more than 1,000 people, and represents more than 100 wineries from all over the world.

Bruno Baudry paid tribute to St Pierre Jr and said, ‘I am very confident that the ASC team and I will make ASC an even stronger company in the near future, and that we will further enhance the appreciation for and sales of fine wines in mainland China, Hong Kong and Macau.’