Gerard Ruvo to retire as Campari America chairman

28th June, 2019 by Nicola Carruthers

Campari America’s Gerard Ruvo is to retire from his role as chairman in August, after serving the company for 21 years.

Gerard ‘Gerry’ Ruvo has been instrumental in boosting Campari Group’s presence in the US

Gerard ‘Gerry’ Ruvo has been credited as the “driving force behind Campari Group’s expansion” in the US. He will depart the firm on 2 August 2019.

Ruvo joined Skyy Spirits as vice president of sales in 1998, prior to its acquisition by Campari Group in 2002.

Ruvo was promoted to CEO of Skyy Spirits in 2005, followed by the roles of CEO and chairman of the brand company in 2008, leading the transition of the firm’s business model from third-party agency brands to a portfolio comprised of Campari Group products.

Skyy Spirits changed its name to Campari America in 2012, when Ruvo also took on the additional role of managing director of North America.

In 2014, Jean-Jacques Dubau was named managing director of North America, allowing Ruvo to focus on growing Campari’s US business as chairman of the unit.

Among his accomplishments with the firm, Ruvo has been credited for two noteworthy moments, which were scribbled on cocktail napkins. In 1998, Ruvo, who at the time was running sales for Skyy Spirits, “helped pen the business plan to take a single-brand company and turn it into a full-fledged, multi-brand business worthy of acquisition by an industry leader”.

In 2011, he wrote ‘Campari = Negroni’ on a napkin, enabling the namesake brand to double sales in just three years and establishing the Negroni as a staple on cocktail menus.

‘True ambassador’

“The gratitude we owe to Gerry for his contributions to Campari Group and the spirits industry is immeasurable,” said Bob Kunze-Concewitz, CEO of Campari Group.

“Gerry initiated our first conversations with Skyy Spirits, which led to the acquisition, ultimately creating our path to opening up the United States as the company’s largest-revenue generating territory.

“He was the shepherd behind countless product launches, business partnerships, employee programmes, association relationships, and governmental issues, becoming a true ambassador for the company and the spirits industry.

“Gerry’s unwavering passion for the company, our brands, and – most notably – our people, make him the true embodiment of a Camparista. It is for this reason, we are proud to name him honorary chairman for life of Campari America.”

With more than 45 years of experience in the spirits industry, Ruvo has also worked for the Paddington Corporation. In 1997, after the merger of Paddington, Heublein and Carillon, Ruvo was named vice president of sales for the newly-formed spirits company International Distillers and Vintners (IDV).

Prior to IDV, Ruvo worked with Monsieur Henri, a division of PepsiCo, from 1978 to 1990. He was also involved in introducing Stolichnaya Vodka into the US. Ruvo got his start in the industry at Gallo in 1975 as a sales representative in upstate New York.

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