Brown-Forman CEO Paul Varga leaves

  • Push-out Score suggests push-out forces
  • After around 13 years in the position
  • Accolades, praise and thanks for Varga
  • Lawson Whiting taking over
  • Varga spoke at length and said 81 words

(exechange) — Louisville, Kentucky, May 29, 2018 — This news came the day after Memorial Day. Paul Varga, chief executive of Brown-Forman, leaves. His departure is made public at an early stage. As announced by Brown-Forman Corporation in a news release and in a regulatory filing published on Tuesday, May 29, 2018, Paul C. Varga, Chief Executive Officer, leaves the Jack Daniel’s maker after around 13 years in the position, effective December 31, 2018.

It is the end of an era.

Among the 3,000 largest publicly held companies incorporated in the U.S. based on market capitalization, the average tenure of the CEOs who departed over the past 12 months was 9.5 years, according to data compiled by exechange. Only 38 percent of the CEOs who departed over the past 12 months left the position after more than 10 years.

Varga’s duties will be taken over by Lawson E. Whiting, currently Chief Operating Officer of Brown-Forman Corporation.

“Now is the right time”

Varga’s departure from the CEO post is explained as follows. Varga said: “In determining the best time to implement the final piece of this succession plan, I naturally considered the readiness of the company to navigate a leadership transition such as this, and now is the right time.”

Precise information about Varga’s future plans was not immediately available.

The succession announcement comes as Brown-Forman will release results for the fourth quarter and full fiscal year 2018 on June 6.


Brown-Forman said: “[A]fter a distinguished 31 years of service at the company, Chief Executive Officer Paul C. Varga has decided to retire, effective December 31, 2018.”

Share price rise since July 2017

The change follows a rise in the share price of Brown-Forman Corporation since July 2017.

In the position of CEO since 2005

Varga began his CEO tenure in 2003 overseeing the company’s beverage business and succeeded Owsley Brown II as the corporation’s CEO in 2005.

Paul Varga was appointed president and chief executive officer of Brown-Forman Corporation on August 1, 2005, and became chairman of the company in August 2007.

He has been a member of the company’s board of directors since 2003.

Prior to becoming CEO, Varga served as president and chief executive officer of the company’s Brown-Forman Beverages subsidiary.

He also served as senior vice president and chief marketing officer for Brown-Forman Beverages.

In this capacity he provided executive direction of the marketing efforts for brands that comprise Brown-Forman Beverages in domestic and international markets.

Varga began his career at Brown-Forman as a summer intern in May of 1986.

He subsequently was promoted to a variety of positions within the corporation, ranging from on-premise marketing to managing the Jack Daniel’s brand.

Varga was promoted to senior vice president, chief marketing officer in November 2000.

Varga earned his bachelor of business administration degree in finance from the University of Kentucky in 1985.

He went on to earn his master’s in business administration at Purdue University in 1987.

Paul resides in Louisville with his wife, Melissa, and their three children.

Varga will remain on the Board of Directors of the Company and is expected to stand for re-election at the upcoming Annual Meeting of Stockholders to be held on July 26, 2018.

Push-out Score suggests push-out forces

It is not completely certain what forces eventually triggered Paul Varga’s move.

The Push-out Score™ determined by exechange suggests that push-out forces may have contributed to the change.

Read the full story in the exechange report 23.2018 ($).