Cressy to step down as Discus chief executive

5th March, 2015 by Amy Hopkins

Peter Cressy, CEO of trade body the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States (Discus), is to step down from his role following a 16-year tenure.

Peter-Cressy-DISCUS

Dr. Peter Cressy will step down as CEO of Discus at the end of the year

Dr. Cressy, 74, announced to the Discus board of directors at its annual meeting last week his intention to step down from the role at the end of this year.

“It has been a great privilege to be CEO of the Distilled Spirits Council and to have worked with such outstanding member companies whose commitment to both social responsibility and market modernisation has been remarkable,” Cressy said.

“It has been an equal honour to have worked closely with a superb staff whose professionalism is unparalleled.”

A search committee headed by Discus vice chairman and Moёt Hennessy US chief executive Jim Clerkin, and including Cressy, will begin a national search for a new CEO in the “near future”.

Cressy, who joiuned the council in 1999, will remain in role until a replacement has been appointed.

“We accept Dr. Cressy’s decision to step down with mixed emotions,” said Gerry Ruvo, chairman of the Discus board of directors and chairman of Campari America.

“He has set a standard of excellence that will be very difficult to match.  His leadership has made the Distilled Spirits Council one of the top trade associations in the country, and he has helped the industry make remarkable progress both commercially and in advancing our historic commitment to alcohol responsibility.

“We are very grateful for his leadership and thank him for his service. He will be hard to replace.”

During Cressy’s tenure, the US spirits industry increased its market share 25%, while supplier revenues more than doubled from US$10.7bn annually to over US$23bn.

Sunday alcohol sales were also passed in 17 additional states, while Discus defeated 355 out of 384 major tax bills at the state and local level, with no tax increases at the federal level.

Cressy, a retired Navy Rear Admiral and a former chancellor at the University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth, said he intends to return to the university where he is a tenured professor of management.

Last year, Discus was commended by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) for its “robust” and “effective” self-regulated alcohol advertising measures.

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