Discus names Kraig Naasz new president and CEO

2nd October, 2015 by Amy Hopkins

The Distilled Spirits Council of the United States (Discus) has appointed Kraig Naasz as its new president and CEO following an eight month national search.

Kraig Naasz

Kraig Naasz has been appointed to succeed Peter Cressy as president and CEO of Discus

Naasz, 55, who is currently head of the American Frozen Food Institute (AFFI), will succeed Peter Cressy as the head of the US spirits trade body.

“The board is delighted to welcome Kraig as the new leader of Discus,” said Gerry Ruvo, chairman of Campari America and chair of the Discus board of directors.

“Kraig’s knowledge of the food and beverage marketplace, his extensive executive experience and professional network will help Discus advance its commercial, public policy and social responsibility agenda.”

Naasz previously served as the chief executive of the National Mining Association, The Fertilizer Institute and the US Apple Association.

Earlier in his career, Naasz worked as a communications and legislative aide for several members of the US Senate and US House of Representatives.

He is also an active member of several groups that advocate for the business community, including the US Chamber of Commerce Association Committee of 100.

“I’m extremely honoured to have been selected to succeed Peter Cressy as the leader of Discus,” said Naasz.

“I’m eager to engage and draw upon the expertise and enthusiasm of its members and staff to serve and advance the goals and objectives of the distilled spirits industry.”

Cressy announced his intention to step down from the role in March this year after a 16-year tenure.

During this time, 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.

Jim Clerkin, Discus vice chair and CEO of Moёt Hennessy USA, led the “extensive” eight month national search to find Cressy’s replacement.

“While there were many fine candidates, Kraig’s proven public policy and communications expertise makes him the right choice to build on the successful tenure of Peter Cressy.”

Naasz will officially step into role on 1 January 2016.

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