Rémy Cointreau CEO Steps Down after Three Months

French cognac and spirits producer Rémy Cointreau said that its chief executive officer (CEO), Frédéric Pflanz, was stepping down from the position only three months since taking it up. The company cited ‘personal reasons’ for his decision and added that its chairman, François Hériard Dubreuil, would take over the CEO role on an interim basis.

Pflanz will remain at Rémy as development director “with responsibility for specific assignments that he has already initiated”, the company confirmed.

Last June, Pflanz’s promotion to CEO was announced after he had spent more than three years as Rémy’s chief financial officer (CFO). In December 2012, he had taken on the additional role of chief operating officer (COO), a move that many analysts regarded as paving the way for his move to the top job.

Prior to joining the company as CFO in July 2010, Pflanz had previously served as a finance director at the consumer products unit of cosmetics group L’Oreal.

Although Rémy did not elaborate on the reasons for Pflanz’s move, analysts noted that the company’s shares have fallen 22% since he took over as CEO on 1 October. The share price ended 2013 at around €60, having been above €100 as recently as February.

Sales in the six months to September 2013 were 6.3% lower than the previous year at €558m, while net profits were down by 20% to €69.3m. The company’s sales in China have been particularly dented by the country’s Communist party leaders cracking down on luxury gift giving and personal spending by officials.

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