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Bollinger top post goes to non-family member

For the first time in its 178-year history, Champagne Bollinger has chosen a non-family member to head the company.

Jérôme Philipon has been named managing director and will be taking over from Ghislain de Montgolfier, great-great-grandson of founder Jacques Bollinger.

Though he was born in Champagne, Philipon has never worked in the wine industry before. He has an MBA from the Essec Business School in Paris, and has spent his professional life in corporate brand management. Most recently, he was a managing director with the Coca Cola Company, where he spent nine years. Before that, he held various marketing and sales positions within the Nestlé Group.

‘Philipon was chosen because he was the best man for the job,’ said Elizabeth Ferguson, spokesperson for Mentzendorff, Champagne Bollinger’s importer. ‘While he hasn’t been directly involved in wine or spirits, his background is food and agriculture. He’s a highly experienced manager, and has the full skill set Bollinger were looking for.’

De Montgolfier, who has been managing director since 1994, is stepping down in order to focus on his responsibilities as president of the Union des Maisons de Champagne, a trade organisation.

Philipon, who joined Bollinger at the beginning of September, will assume the role of managing director some time in 2008.

Written by Maggie Rosen

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