Stanislas Henriot has resigned as president of the family’s Champagne business after over a decade in charge.
The resignation has surprised many in Champagne, given that Henriot has overseen a transformation of the business and the brand, which had been relatively unknown outside France. He also set up a subsidiary in the USA.
Henriot took over the eponymous house at the request of his father Joseph in 1999, and presided over an increase in exports from around 20% ten years ago, to half the production today.
In explanation of his resignation Henriot told a French newspaper, ‘The 40-year-old wants to go further. I did what I had to do, also creating our subsidiary in the USA. A family group such as ours needs to breathe. This is the case now, that is the only reason that I have decided to go.’
It is not known who will take over running the business but it seems unlikely, in the short term at least, that Stanislas’s younger brother Thomas will be moved from the new Beaujolais property he is in charge of.
This property, the 120ha Chateau Poncie in Fleurie, was bought by the Henriot family in early 2008. The wine will be relaunched under the name Villa Ponciago next month.
There is some speculation that Gilles de Dreuzy, managing director of the wider Henriot-owned group that includes Burgundy house Bouchard Père et Fils and William Fèvre in Chablis, may take over some of Stanislas’ responsibilities.
There was no comment from Champagne Henriot.
Written by Giles Fallowfield