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Amber Beverage CEO steps down

After three years as CEO of Amber Beverage Group (ABG), Jekaterina Stuģe has left the company following a ‘mutual agreement’.

Jekaterina Stuģe, Amber Beverage Group CEO
Jekaterina Stuģe worked at Amber Beverage Group for 10 years

On 30 January 2024, ABG informed its shareholders that Stuģe had stepped down from the role immediately after ‘collaborative discussions’ between Stuģe and the company’s ownership. ABG is a division of SPI Group, producer of Stoli Vodka.

As such, ABG chief legal officer Arturs Evarts will become acting CEO until a permanent successor is named. The company said Evarts has played a ‘pivotal role’ in strategy and has a widespread insight into all aspects of the group’s operations.

Stuģe started her career as an auditor at Ernst & Young. In 2009 she moved to NP Foods as chief financial officer (CFO), before joining SPI Group in 2014 as the CFO of the Baltic business. She then became CEO in December 2020 after the departure of Seymour Ferreira.

During Stuģe’s time leading the company, ABG said the group experienced a ‘transformative era marked by strategic foresight and expansion-focused initiatives’.

Stuģe, who worked at ABG for a decade, leaves the company in a ‘strong position’ to succeed in the long term, the group said.

In a LinkedIn post, Stuģe announced her departure, stating it had been an “exciting journey”.

She continued: “I am privileged to have been the CEO of this dynamic company, and I am both grateful and honoured to have worked with such an array of talented, hardworking, and loyal colleagues and partners.

“Looking back over the past decade, I am proud of what we have been able to achieve transforming the company from being a local, pan-Baltic business, into a global industry leader representing over 1,400 different brands across 70 international markets. I am confident that the company will continue to build on its decade of success.

“I think a true leader is never complete – it is in change and constant challenges, that we grow as strategists, innovators, inspirational guides and visionaries. I have grown tremendously with Amber, and I have now decided that the time is right for the next chapter of that change and growth.”

ABG reported a ‘record year’ in 2022 with double-digit sales growth of 17.9%.

Like many other companies, ABG has faced inventory buildups as a result of surges in shipments due to pandemic concerns over the past year, Stuģe told The Spirits Business in December. She was hopeful for a return to pre-pandemic volume rates over the next 12 months.

Headquartered in Luxembourg, ABG’s portfolio of brands includes Rooster Rojo Tequila, Kah Tequila, Moskovskaya Vodka and Riga Black Balsam, among others.

In July 2022, SPI Group was ordered to pay £1.62 million (US$1.9m) for the unfair dismissal of a UK executive after he objected to staff pay cuts during the pandemic.

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