Several private investors have taken shareholdings in Maison Joanne, one of the biggest Bordeaux négociant firms and leading distributor of grands crus to wine merchants around the world.
Company president Pierre Antoine Castéja announced the changes in a letter to business partners and friends on the eve of the Bordeaux 2021 en primeur tasting week.
It marks a new chapter for the family business, which celebrates its 160th anniversary this year and has around 5 million bottles of fine wine stored in its cellars.
‘I have taken the decision to open the company shareholding to a small circle of private entrepreneurs and French families, all with the same values and passion for wine and with a focus on the long-term,’ said Castéja in his announcement.
New shareholders include Claude Bébéar, founder and former CEO of Axa insurance group, the Norbert Dentressangle family, the Philippe Donnet family and Hugues Lechanoine, who was previously CEO at Baron Philippe de Rothschild.
Specific details on the size of the shareholdings were not given. Castéja told Decanter he has a minority stake in the new structure.
He will continue to be Joanne’s president, but Lechanoine is set to gradually take over management of the company. ‘I have known Hugues for 20 years and I have the utmost confidence in him,’ Castéja said in his announcement.
Regarding the timing of the move, he told Decanter, ‘At a certain [time] of your life, you must secure your future, the one of your team and the one of your long-term suppliers.’
Castéja added in his official announcement, ‘These new partners, from predominately family-owned companies, are all committed to preserving and developing the fundamentals of Joanne’s force and to promoting the fine wines of Bordeaux and beyond.’
A growing number of international fine wines have begun releasing vintages via the Place de Bordeaux system, and Joanne is one of several négociants to have developed this side of its business.
Castéja also said, ‘The current management team – Anne Szersnovicz, Dan Snook, Laurent Bonnet, Jean-Quentin Prats, Frédéric Bouchaud and my daughter Laure de Bronac – become shareholders and enthusiastically embrace this project. Each of them will become a member of the management board chaired by Hugues Lechanoine.’