Château Lafite Rothschild, the Pauillac first growth, and its parent company DBR (Lafite) have announced a major generational shift in management.
Owner Baron Eric de Rothschild, 77, will be stepping down as chairman after 35 years at the helm of Domaines Barons de Rothschild (Lafite).
His daughter, Saskia de Rothschild, is set to take over the role from April 2018, Decanter.com can confirm. She has been co-chairman alongside her father for the past two years and has been involved with the group’s estates since 2008. Château Lafite has been in the family since 1868.
In a second change at DBR (Lafite), the group’s president and CEO, Christophe Salin, 62, will also step down on 31 March 2018 after 33 years in the position.
Salin will hand over to Jean-Guillaume Prats, who will join in the first few months of 2018 and formally take up the new role in April.
Both Baron Eric and Salin will remain at the group, as managing partner and senior advisor respectively for the new team.
Last year saw DBR Lafite’s long-time winemaker and estate director, Charles Chevallier, hand his day-to-day duties over to Eric Kohler for the Bordeaux properties, so these new appointments complete a handover from one generation to the next.
‘The Lafite that we built together over the years has grown,’ Salin told Decanter.com. ‘We feel it is the right time to hand over the reins. Saskia has been working alongside her father since 2015, and knows the business intimately.
‘We are looking forward to seeing the new generation in place.’
Under their stewardship, DBR Lafite has grown from a legendary estate with a small collection of prestigious châteaux in the Bordeaux region to a multinational business with properties in Bordeaux, the Languedoc, Chile, Argentina and China and a successful collection of branded wines including Légende and Saga.
Prats, who spent most of his working life in Bordeaux at his family’s Château Cos d’Estournel, just inside the St-Estèphe boundary, has headed up Estates & Wines, the international wine arm of LVMH, since 2013.
Estates & Wines has 15 estates in eight countries, including Ao Yun in Yunnan province in China, Cloudy Bay in New Zealand and Newton Vineyard in Napa.