SPI Group appoints John Esposito as President of SPI North America
SPI Group, owner of Stolichnaya Premium vodka, has announced the appointment of John Esposito as President of its US operations. This follows the decision taken by SPI to establish its own importing company in the United States and manage its portfolio of brands directly, starting from January 1, 2014.
John Esposito is a veteran of the US drinks industry, having over 20 years’ experience holding leadership positions in the retail, distribution and brand owner segments of the sector, most recently as President and CEO of Bacardi North America. Prior to that, John was CEO of Moët Hennessy USA, President of Schieffelin & Somerset and, on the distribution side of the business, President of Premier Beverage in Florida. John started his career as Sales Manager with the Seagram Company and his history of managing and directing the growth of great brands throughout his career makes him an excellent choice to lead the Stoli brand.
John’s vast and diverse experience in the wine and spirit industry has provided him with a holistic perspective, from building brands and empowering teams to developing strong and profitable businesses. At SPI North America, John’s first priority will be setting up a high-performing organization of sales, marketing, finance and supply chain professionals across the US. John starts in his new role on January 28th and will be based at the Stoli US headquarters in New York.
“We are very proud to have John build and lead our US operations. He is one of the most experienced and respected executives in our industry. I am confident that John will be a very successful leader to drive the Stoli business forward in the US, Stoli’s largest market, and face all the challenges and opportunities that lay ahead,” commented Val Mendeleev, CEO of SPI Group.
“Stoli is one of the most iconic brands in the category. I’m thrilled to be part of this exciting project,” said John. "I look forward to forming a strong way of working with William Grant & Sons—the current distributors of Stoli in the US—to ensure a smooth transition of the brand, while building the Stoli team in the US that will guide the brand for the future.”