SWS Forms Strategic Programs Group
 

For Immediate Release                                Contact: Brad Vassar
                                                                      Executive Vice President & General Manager
                                                                      Southern Wine & Spirits of America, Inc.
                                                                      Telephone: (305) 625-4171
                                                                      

SOUTHERN WINE & SPIRITS OF AMERICA, INC. ANNOUNCES FORMATION OF NEW STRATEGIC PROGRAMS GROUP

STEPHEN J. VON OEHSEN APPOINTED VICE PRESIDENT, STRATEGY & BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT

CHRISTOPHER J. MINIELLY APPOINTED DIRECTOR, STRATEGY & BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT

Von Oehsen and Minielly to Oversee Senior Management Group in Support of New Corporate and Divisional Operations in Strategy Development, Executive Decision Making and New Business Initiatives

MIAMI - August 2, 2005 – Brad Vassar, Executive Vice President and General Manager of Southern Wine & Spirits of America, Inc., the country’s largest wine and spirits distributor with operations soon to be in 20 states, today announced the formation of a new Strategic Programs Group to serve in support of Corporate and Divisional executives with strategy development, executive decision making, and business initiative execution and implementation. In connection with this announcement, Mr. Vassar said the Company appointed Stephen J. Von Oehsen as Vice President, Strategy and Business Development, and Chris Minielly as Director, Strategy & Business Development. The two appointments are effective immediately.

     Mr. Vassar said, “The formation of this new Strategic Programs Group at Southern – together with Stephen and Chris’s appointments – is all about our heightened commitment to strengthening our leadership position in the distribution tier, while also expanding our best-practices achievements across our growing organization.”

    Mr. Vassar added: “Stephen and Chris come to us with more than 25 years’ combined experience working on key management consulting assignments for FORTUNE 500 firms. During Stephen’s work with us on some recent projects, we were extremely impressed with his command of such issues as corporate, business and marketing strategy, organizational alignment, supply chain strategy, and operations reengineering.  We are looking forward to Stephen and Chris helping our entire organization further fortify its already industry-leading business practices with still more innovations.”

     Mr. Von Oehsen and Mr. Minielly will report to both Mr. Vassar and Lee F. Hager, Executive Vice President, Chief Administrative Officer and Secretary of Southern Wine & Spirits of America, Inc. 

Mr. Von Oehsen said: “Southern Wine & Spirits of America, Inc. and its more than 10,000 team members is a world-class organization. Its commitment to service and its record of industry-leading sales and operating innovations would be the envy of any company, so the opportunity to join Southern is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. I look forward to working closely with the Company’s top corporate executives as well as its Divisional leaders across the country. I particularly look forward to working with genuine change agents and strategic thinkers within the Southern organization all across the country; there is a tremendous reservoir of talent and experience here.”

     Prior to joining Southern Wine & Spirits of America, Inc., Mr. Von Oehsen served as Principal at A.T. Kearney, Inc., a Chicago, Illinois-based global management consulting firm; previously, he worked at CSC-Index., a management consulting firm, which is also based in Chicago, where he served as a Managing Associate at the firm. Mr. Von Oehsen has an MBA from the J. L. Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois, an MS in International Relations from the London School of Economics & Political Science in London, England, and a BA in Government from Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire.

     Joining Mr. Von Oehsen in the formation of this group is Christopher J. Minielly, who is Director, Strategy & Business Development. In this position, Mr. Minielly will help Mr. Von Oehsen, to whom he reports, focus SPG’s efforts to support Southern Wine & Spirits of America’s market-specific supplier development efforts as well as supporting the human resource-oriented strategic projects for its national and state operations.

     Prior to joining Southern Wine & Spirits of America, Inc., Mr. Minielly worked A.T. Kearney, Inc., a Chicago, Illinois-based global management consulting firm; previously, he worked at Wal-Mart China Co., Inc., where he managed the firm’s national merchandising programs. Mr. Minielly has an MBA from Thunderbird – Garvin School of International Management in Arizona, an MA in East Asian Studies from the
University of Toronto, and a BA degree in International Relations from Trinity University.

     Southern Wine & Spirits of America, Inc. is the nation’s largest wine and spirits distributor, with operations soon to be in 20 states. The Company currently operates in: Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Kentucky, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Nevada, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Vermont, Virginia, and soon to be in Mississippi pending closing of the transaction.  On a national basis, Southern Wine & Spirits of America, Inc. employs more than 10,000 team members.


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