Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits announced the retirement of Steve Slater, Executive Vice President, General Manager, Wine Division, effective December 31, 2021. In his current role, Mr. Slater is responsible for wine supplier relations, innovation, promotions, and portfolio management.
Mr. Slater joined the Company as a salesperson in California in 1989. After moving into several management positions of increasing responsibility, he was promoted to Vice President, General Manager of Southern Wine & Spirits’ California division. He was later promoted to Executive Vice President, Wine Division for Southern and then continued in that same role upon the combination of Southern Wine & Spirits and Glazer’s in 2016. A former foreign correspondent for Voice of America in Brazil, he began his career in the wine and spirits industry working as the general manager of a fine wine shop in San Diego. He was a recipient of the 2004 Diageo Distributor of the Year Award and the 1999 Southern Wine & Spirits Southern California Executive of the Year Award.
“Steve has been an invaluable member of the team, working closely with me on a national and international basis to build Southern Glazer’s wine business,” said Mel Dick, President, Wine Division and Senior Vice President, Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits. “He is extraordinarily knowledgeable about wine and has helped us maintain our reputation as the leader in this category since he joined the wine division more than a decade ago. He is a great friend, a fantastic leader, and I will miss him both personally and professionally. I wish him much health and happiness in his retirement.”
To succeed Mr. Slater upon his retirement on January 1, 2022, will be Cindy Leonard, Senior Vice President, Supplier Management and Business Development. In her new role she will serve as Executive Vice President, General Manager, Fine Wine, reporting to Mel Dick and Gene Sullivan, Chief Sales & Marketing Officer, Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits. Ms. Leonard will lead the efforts on Southern Glazer’s new fine wine strategy by overseeing the direction for the Company’s fine wine selling divisions across the U.S. Ms. Leonard will be working closely with Mr. Slater over the next several months to transition into the new role and prepare to backfill her current responsibilities.
“During her 20 years with Southern Glazer’s, Cindy has proven herself to be a results-oriented team player who has worked to develop a bench of solid relationships across our diverse supplier base,” commented Gene Sullivan. “I can’t think of a better person to build on the incredible foundation that Steve Slater has established, while working to take our fine wine business to new levels.”
In her current role, Ms. Leonard is responsible for managing the national Supplier Management and Business Development team, as well as managing programs and promotions for strategic and emerging suppliers intended to drive results and achieve performance goals. She has more than 30 years of experience in the wine and spirits industry, having held various sales roles for E&J Gallo, Remy Cointreau, and Jackson Family Fine Wines. She joined Southern Glazer’s in 2000 as a Brand Manager, and since that time has advanced into roles in the Company’s Fine Wine Division and Supplier Management teams. She has received the Court of Master Sommelier Introductory Sommelier certification and WSET Level 2 Award in Wines and Spirits with Merit, as well as an Executive Certificate of Leadership Management from the University of Notre Dame Mendoza School of Business, and was a 2018 graduate of Southern Glazer’s Exceptional Leaders Program.