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Pierre Pringuet to step down from Pernod board

Former Pernod Ricard CEO Pierre Pringuet has offered to resign from the French group’s board of directors as it looks to “improve governance”.

Pierre Pringuet has been associated with Pernod Ricard for more than 30 years

Pringuet joined Pernod Ricard in 1987, becoming joint-CEO with Richard Burrows in 2000 and later group CEO in 2008. He was succeeded by Alexandre Ricard in 2015.

Along with academic Martina Gonzalez-Gallarza, Pringuet has volunteered to resign from Pernod Ricard at the group’s next annual general meeting (AGM) on 8 November 2019. Meanwhile, independent director Nicole Bouton has elected not to stand for reappointment.

Aerospace technology executive Philippe Petitcolin and consumer goods executive Esther Berrozpe Galindo have been appointed to Pernod Ricard’s board of directors ­– a move that will be submitted for shareholder approval at the AGM.

The board reshuffle follows the acquisition of a 2.5% stake in Pernod Ricard by activist investor Elliott Management Corporation at the end of last year. The US-headquartered hedge fund accused the distiller of having  “inadequate” corporate governance and a “lack of outside perspectives”.

The Jameson and Absolut maker said it has been working to “increase diversity, independence and the international and female representation” on its board of directors for a number of years, and that the initiative started under Pringuet’s leadership.

Alexandre Ricard said: “For me, Pierre Pringuet will always be a brilliant and visionary mentor. There is no question that the group would not have become this French leader without his boldness and his exceptional work capacity. Pernod Ricard is, and will forever be, grateful to him.”

He added that the appointment of Petitcolin and Berrozpe Galindo would “enhance the collective expertise” of the board of directors. Former Christie’s CEO Patricia Barbizet joined Pernod Ricard as its lead independent director shortly after Elliott’s move.

At the same time as announcing a 6% organic lift in its full-year sales earlier this week, Pernod Ricard revealed its plans to acquire US spirits firm Castle Brands for US$223 million, and pledged US$150m to build China’s first malt whisky distillery.

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