ASC Fine Wines chief executive John Watkins to leave


ASC Fine Wines, a major Chinese importer of premium wine, has announced that its chief executive, John Watkins, will leave the company at the end of May.

Image: John Watkins, chief executive of ASC Fine Wines

John Watkins, who joined ASC Fine Wines as chief executive in late 2012, will leave on 31 May and will join a multinational company in another business sector, ASC announced.

Bruno Baudry, who has spent the past two years as executive director at Spanish wine group Codorniu, and MD of its Asia business, is to replace Watkins at ASC from 1 June. Baudry has previously been MD of French wine group Castel’s Asia division.

The change at ASC follows a difficult time for China’s wine importers, with consumer demand at the top end of the country’s wine market hit by the Chinese government’s austerity measures.

In previous interviews with and, Watkins spoke of the need to cater for a rising market for mid-priced wines in China.

ASC’s chairman, Yuji Yamazaki, praised Watkins for his work. ‘The ASC Board of Directors thanks John for his work in navigating ASC through one of the most challenging times in the imported wine industry in China and for executing with his team many innovations and improvements during this period.’

Yamazaki is president and CEO of Suntory Wines International, a division of Japan’s Suntory group, which is ASC’s parent company.

Watkins thanked colleagues, customers and suppliers and said, ‘the company is very well positioned as the market for premium imported wines enters into the next phase of development’.

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