Brown-Forman Corporation has announced a change in leadership of its Board of Directors. Though the first name will change the last name will remain the same as will he lineage from company founder George Garvin Brown.
Brown-Forman has announced that Board Chair, G. Garvin Brown IV will retire from the Board of Directors in July after 14 years of service. He will be succeeded by Campbell P. Brown, who will assume the Chair role at the company’s Annual Meeting of Stockholders. G. Garvin Brown is a great-great grandson of the company’s founder and his replacement Campbell P. Brown is also a great-great grandson of the company’s founder.
Campbell Brown said, “I am deeply honored by the Board’s decision to appoint me as its incoming Chair. Garvin and John, working alongside Lawson, have created an effective and dynamic Board. It will be my great pleasure to serve in this role and continue the journey George Garvin Brown set us on when he pledged Brown-Forman’s ambition, distilled into five simple words, that there is ‘Nothing Better in the Market.’”
“Brown-Forman has endured and thrived as an independent beverage alcohol company in part because of our deliberate and well-planned leadership transitions, like the one being announced today,” said Garvin Brown. “Over the past several years, I have worked with our Lead Independent Director and Chair of the Corporate Governance and Nominating Committee, John Cook, to prepare for a thoughtful transition. Now, as we conclude our 150th year as an independent, family-controlled distillery, the time is right to entrust leadership of the Board to Campbell. He brings to this position a deep knowledge of brand building, commercial and corporate strategy, and a profound appreciation for the company, its people, and its many stakeholders.”
“Garvin’s steady hand these last 14 years has helped the Board of Directors navigate skillfully through a global recession, portfolio re-shaping, significant capital investments, a CEO transition, and more recently a global pandemic,” said Lawson Whiting, President and CEO, Brown-Forman Corporation. “He has been an invaluable partner to me, and an effective leader of the broader Board, given his instincts and experience as a true brand builder and business strategist. Perhaps most importantly, Garvin has exemplified the values at the core of Brown-Forman and recognized that our ambition to ‘enrich the experience of life’ requires an unwavering commitment to a culture of diversity and inclusion and a focus on environmental, social, and governance factors relevant to our company. His support of this work has been evident not only in the way he embodied these ideals, but the emphasis he places on them in the boardroom and beyond.”
During Garvin Brown’s tenure as the Board Chair, the Board’s stewardship contributed to Brown-Forman delivering top-tier total shareholder return over the long term, reliable top line growth, industry-leading return on invested capital, and recognition as an S&P 500 Dividend Aristocrat, marking 76 consecutive years of paying regular quarterly dividends and 37 consecutive years of dividend increases.
Garvin Brown added, “As I approach my retirement from Board service, I do so knowing the company is in excellent hands and that this transition is happening from a position of strength. Our company is resilient, as evidenced by our ability to withstand the uncertainty and upheaval of 2020, and it’s this resiliency that has allowed us to implement these changes with confidence. Together, Lawson and Campbell bring more than 50 years of beverage alcohol brand-building experience to Brown-Forman and in partnership with the Board, the management team, dedicated employees, and committed shareholders, the company has a bright future and will continue to thrive.”
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“It’s been a privilege to lead the Corporate Governance and Nominating Committee since 2011, during which time we’ve worked on and outlined long-term succession planning projects such as this one, and the 2018 announcement on CEO succession,” said John Cook. “In Campbell, we see a true leader who has a history of brand building and a full understanding of the company’s culture and values. He is the right person to assume the role of Chair and to help steward Brown-Forman as we create long-term shareholder value.”
Garvin and Campbell Have a Long History with Brown-Forman
G. Garvin Brown began his career with Brown-Forman in 1996 as a wine salesperson in Metro New York and progressed through a series of corporate and operational roles. Notably, Garvin served as the Brand Director for Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Whiskey for Europe and Africa and Managing Director of Western Europe and Africa, two roles that further developed his skills as a brand and business leader. He joined the Board of Directors in 2006 as part of a planned transition between the fourth and fifth generations of the Brown family and assumed the responsibilities of Chair of the Board when Owsley Brown II relinquished them in 2007. Garvin is also a founding member of the Brown-Forman/Brown Family Shareholders Committee and a Board member of DendriFund, a foundation focused on the sustainability of elements needed to create excellent bourbon whiskey – wood, water, and grain.
Campbell P. Brown, 53, has been with Brown-Forman for 26 years. Campbell started his career as part of Brown-Forman’s march to globalization, leading business development efforts in critical emerging markets such as India and Turkey. Upon his return to the U.S., he progressively acquired more responsibility leading brand and commercial efforts and increasingly larger teams. Campbell managed Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Whiskey and, most recently, has been stewarding the renaissance of the company’s founding brand as President of Old Forester. He is also a founding member of the Brown-Forman/Brown Family Shareholders Committee, served on the board of DendriFund, and joined the Brown-Forman Board of Directors in 2016. Campbell serves on the Board of Directors for the Kentucky Distillers Association, representing Brown-Forman’s interests in its home state.
This Brown-Forman leadership transition will be completed at the 2021 Annual Meeting of Stockholders.