W.J. Deutsch & Sons Appoints Tom Steffanci as President
White Plains, NY – Sept. 29, 2009 – W.J. Deutsch & Sons, Ltd. (Deutsch) a leading importer and marketer of 28 award-winning wines and spirits from around the world including [yellow tail], Georges Duboeuf, and Geyser Peak, announced today the appointment of Tom Steffanci as their new President. Steffanci, the former COO of Terlato Wines Int., will oversee all of sales, marketing, finance and operations, for the fifth largest wine and spirits company in the United States. He will report directly to CEO Peter Deutsch, and will replace outgoing President Jim Mello, who will retire, but remain on the Board of Directors.
“Tom’s vast experience in every function of the drinks industry including production, sales, marketing, distributor management, and business and financial planning, make him the ideal choice to lead our company to even greater success,” said Peter Deutsch. “His ability to simultaneously increase revenue and build brand equity, coupled with his proficiency at internal and distributor management make him a great asset to W.J. Deutsch.”
Over the past three years as COO of Terlato Wines International, Steffanci dramatically enhanced the performance of their fine wine business, increasing revenue by over 25% through a strategic reorganization of the company and its business practices. Prior to managing Terlato, Steffanci was the President of Allied Domecq’s Northern Business Unit, where he significantly increased their product distribution and market share. Previously, Steffanci spent seven years in senior positions with Diageo, PLC, including running the company’s largest business unit as Senior Vice President and General Manager, California. Before joining Diageo, he held key marketing and sales positions with Coors Brewing Company.
“I have long admired W.J. Deutsch for their ability to identify unmet consumer needs and fulfill those needs, building brands into category leaders,” said Steffanci. “I am thrilled to now become a part of this dynamic organization, working with Bill and Peter Deutsch to continue to innovate and create equity brands with long term viability for the trade and the consumer.”
Steffanci succeeds outgoing President James Mello, a 30+ year veteran of the wine and spirits industry. Mello oversaw the company’s considerable growth and achievement in recent years, adding over $20 million in revenue, and boasting the additions of the Ascentia U.S. portfolio, the Spanish Zamora portfolio, the new Spirits Division and the companies claim to having the number one wine in the U.S.* He is retiring as President, but will remain an active member of W.J. Deutsch’s Board of Directors.
“My presidency at W.J. Deutsch has been a tremendously rewarding experience,” said Mello. “I have had the privilege of working with Bill and Peter Deutsch, two of the most respected men in the industry, and had the opportunity to grow Deutsch into the leading family-owned-and-run wine and spirits company in the U.S. We now offer the trade a comprehensive portfolio of equity brands, supported by an expert sales and marketing team, and backed by a financially solid company with a long-term business plan, and vision to provide for future generations. I will continue to enjoy supporting Deutsch’s growth from my position on the Board of Directors, and look forward to seeing the new heights that we will undoubtedly reach under Tom Steffanci’s leadership.”