Board Engaged in Search for Successor, Succession Plan Reinforces Long-Term Evolution of the Company
CHICAGO and NEW YORK, March 15, 2021 – Breakthru Beverage Group, a leading North American beverage distributor with operations across the United States and Canada, today announced that President and CEO Greg Baird plans to retire from the company at the end of the year. The Board of Managers is engaged in an active search process to identify Breakthru’s next CEO as part of the company’s thoughtful succession planning process and ongoing transformation. The search will consider internal and external candidates. To ensure a smooth transition, Baird remains committed and fully engaged as President and CEO until his successor is in place and will serve as an advisor to the company for a period thereafter.
“It has been an incredible honor to lead Breakthru Beverage through a transformational five years. Together with our entire team, we have built an industry leader that consistently delivers excellence to our supplier and customer partners and other stakeholders,” said Baird. “Our team’s passion and expertise are the true reason for our success and I’m confident that Breakthru, supported by our outstanding and deeply committed leadership team, is well-positioned for growth long into the future. I have worked with our ownership and Board to prepare for a thoughtful transition and will be proud to hand the reins to a new CEO who will take the company through its next phase of success.”
Charles Merinoff, Co-Chairman of the Board of Managers, said, “Greg is truly a great leader and has been a dear friend to me and our entire team. Since becoming CEO, he has not only led the successful evolution of the company, but he also brought us together as one Breakthru family. While we will miss his energetic spirit, compassion and dedication, we continue to look towards a tremendous future for Breakthru.”
Rockwell Wirtz, Co-Chairman of the Board of Managers, stated, “We are grateful for Greg’s vision and remarkable leadership. Among his many achievements and contributions, Greg led the integration of Charmer Sunbelt Group and Wirtz Beverage to create Breakthru Beverage Group. He spearheaded and launched Breakthru’s corporate strategy, which underscores the company’s commitment to bold strategic initiatives and driving long-term growth and performance for the business and its stakeholders. He also drove Breakthru’s expansion into new frontiers as exemplified by the launch of Kindred in Canada. Under his leadership, Breakthru successfully completed a number of mergers and acquisitions, gained significant market share and new supplier relationships and is transforming its digital and e-commerce strategy.”
Danny Wirtz, Vice-Chairman of the Board of Managers, said, “Together, Greg and the Board have worked diligently to create a strong governance structure and thoughtful succession processes to ensure stability and smooth leadership transitions. As part of this, we are engaged in a thorough search to identify Greg’s successor. We are highly confident we will find a new CEO who values our multigenerational legacy of service and commitment to our people, portfolio and culture and has the vision to take us through the next phase of our evolution.”
After serving in various senior leadership roles at Charmer Sunbelt Group, Baird became President and CEO of Breakthru in January 2016, following the merger of Charmer Sunbelt Group and Wirtz Beverage. The combination brought together two pioneering family-owned companies, both with storied histories and shared values, with a vision of becoming the leading beverage company in North America.
During Baird’s tenure, Breakthru Beverage Group has become a North American leader in total beverage alcohol with presence in 14 US markets and all of Canada, with 6,500 associates and $6 billion in annual sales. The company’s multigenerational legacy of excellence remains a constant pillar of its culture and success. As a family-owned business, the focus will always be on its people, portfolio, and culture.
About Breakthru Beverage Group
Breakthru Beverage Group is one of the leading alcohol wholesalers in the United States and the largest broker in Canada representing a full total beverage alcohol portfolio of spirits, wine and beer. Breakthru is committed to diversity, equity and inclusion and supports a wide range of notable organizations as well as local charitable initiatives across its North American footprint. Across all markets, Breakthru aligns a nimble and insightful approach to sales, marketing and operations. Family ownership is active in the business and committed to being stewards of heritage and champions of innovation. For more information, visit www.BreakthruBev.com.