Interview: the incoming CEO at Constellation Brands talks about future plans

Oct 18, 2018

Bill Newlands
Credit Constellation Brands

Newlands, who was brought on board in 2015 as an executive vice president, indicates that the announcement this week that he will take over as CEO of Constellation Brands next March was all part of the succession plan.

Current CEO Rob Sands will then assume the role of executive chair.

Newlands says he’s known the Sands family and been familiar with the operation for more than 20 years, since he used to do consulting for them.

And while Newlands home is in the Chicago area, he is well acquainted with the Finger Lakes, having grown up near Corning.

“I know the upstate new York area pretty well because I spent my entire growing up days an hour-plus outside of Rochester, so I know the area pretty well as well, and we certainly expect, especially given the founding foundation right there literally on the lake, that Victor is going to continue to be the headquarters of the company.”

In terms of the future of the alcohol beverage company, Newlands says they have been seeing solid growth in beer and wine sales, and they are also looking ahead to opportunities in the cannabis market.

Constellation recently increased its stake in a Canadian cannabis company called Canopy Growth.

“Our view was, Canopy is currently the market leader and by doing the investment now and by doing it the way we’re doing it, it should give them the chance to continue to be the market leader not only in Canada but in other markets around the world as those become legal.”

Constellation Brands may consider producing things like cannabis infused beverages, but would only do that in the U.S. if marijuana products are legalized on a nationwide basis.

(click on the Audio file above to hear the extended interview)