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More Constellation redundancies

Three more senior Constellation Wines Australia executives in Australia have been made redundant as part of the company’s cost-cutting program.

Steve Barbera, vice-president of global sales and marketing, Geoff Watts, senior vice-president of corporate development, and Tony Sharley, manager of the Banrock Station wine tourism and wetland centre, have all been made redundant.

This follows the departure of senior winemaker Rob Bowen.

Constellation’s retrenchment, announced last August, has resulted in about 300 of a planned 350 jobs being cut across the 1500-strong workforce.

One of three wineries, a bottling line, and six of 23 vineyards earmarked for sale have been sold in a major streamlining of the company’s assets.

Constellation spokesperson Sheralee Davies said a global rationalisation announced in early April by CWA’s parent company, US-headquartered Constellation Brands, was not expected to have any further impact on the Australian company.

The global exercise is aimed at saving US$25m in 2009-10 and more than US$50m by the end of 2010-2011.

A source summed up the mood at one Constellation Wines Australia winery by saying, ‘if you make wine, you’re ok. If you sell wine you’re ok. If you help make wine you’re ok. If you help sell wine you’re ok. If you don’t do any of those, you’re out.’

  • In a separate development, at New South Wales winery Cumulus, CEO Jeffrey Wilkinson is to leave his post at the end of the month.

    Wilkinson, a former Rosemount and Southcorp executive, has led Cumulus in his four years as CEO from a near start-up operation to a 250,000-case brand with exports to 26 countries.

    ‘It’s advanced a hell of a lot in the four years I’ve been there. Mission accomplished,’ Wilkinson said.

    Wilkinson is highly regarded for having turned around the fortunes of Southcorp in the UK after the disastrous promotion-led regime of former CEO Keith Lambert.

    Written by Chris Snow in Adelaide

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