Belvedere appoints CEO, looks to clear debts

Sobieski vodka owner Belvedere has appointed Krzysztof Trylinski as chairman and chief executive officer of the group. He aims to clear the company's debt by selling two of its brands.

Trylinski succeeds Jacques Rouvroy, who has resigned for "personal reasons".

Belvedere was placed under the protection of French commercial court on September 21, 2011 and the company said the "implementation of a new management team is a strong signal to employees and clients, as well as business partners". A statement from the company said it is beginning a "new phase of change".

Krzysztof Trylinski, CEO of Belvedere, said: “My first act as CEO is toward our creditors who I solemnly invite to the negotiating table for the benefit and safety of the company and employees. My priority objective is to clear the debts of Belvedere. This will be made possible very quickly by the sale of two brands.

“I want us to concentrate on the core business of Belvedere upon which the business has been built internationally: creating premium and global wine & spirits brands.”

A spokesperson for the company told Drinks International that Belvedere would not disclose the two brands it hoped to sell. 

Krzysztof Trylinski added: “With a debt of 500 million Euros, we have a portfolio of brands which is valued at 1 billion Euros minimum.

“I ask our creditors, first of all Oaktree Capital Management – owner of our competitor in Poland – to negotiate an honorable exit from this crisis which we are exposed to with our employees since 2008.”

(Oaktree is the financial backer of Stock Spirits). 

Krzysztof Trylinski co-founded Belvedere in 1991 and was responsible for creating brands such as Chopin, Belvedere and Sobieski. He has held the position of managing director since the creation of the company, which counts 3,650 employees worldwide - 750 of those are in France.

The nomination of Erick Antony Skora as deputy managing director will be proposed at the ordinary and extraordinary general meeting planned for October 31, 2011.