Australian Vintage sacks CEO

Craig Garvin

Australian Vintage Limited (AVG) has dismissed CEO Craig Garvin for displaying what the company described as a “lack of judgement”, which it says is “inconsistent” with its values.

AVG’s current non-executive director, Peter Perrin, has been appointed acting chief executive officer.

Garvin is believed to be considering his legal options, according to reports in The Australian.

The company board said that after “careful consideration” it has terminated Garvin’s employment for “engaging in conduct that, in its view, displayed a lack of judgement and was inconsistent with the values of the company and the high standards expected of its chief executive officer”.

AVG said that Garvin’s departure “should have no impact the preliminary discussions between AVG and Accolade Wines on a potential transaction”. In its ASX announcement, AVG said that these discussions are continuing, although it noted that “there remains no certainty that any transaction will eventuate”.

One of AVG’s “key institutional investors” who spoke to The Australian on Sunday said they now feared for the fate of the speculated merger with Accolade, as Garvin was viewed as a potential head of the combined group.

The Australian also noted that the board decision to terminate Garvin’s employment “had nothing to do with any financial issues”.

Speaking on behalf of the board of directors in a public statement issued to the ASX, Richard Davis, chairman of Australian Vintage, thanked Garvin for his service and contributions to the company throughout his four years as CEO.

“While we are disappointed by the circumstances leading to his departure, we believe this decision is in the best interests of the company and its stakeholders,” said Davis. “The Board remains committed to upholding the highest standards of conduct and accountability for all employees, including senior leadership.”

According to the statement, AVG has commenced a global search to appoint a permanent CEO.

Australian Vintage said acting CEO Peter Perrin brings a wealth of high-level wine industry experience as a past manager and director of a number of large listed, private and boutique wine companies in Australia, the United States and New Zealand over a 40-year wine career that focused on sales and marketing both in Australia and overseas. He is a trustee and honorary life member of the Wolf Blass Foundation. Perrin is chairman of the AVG Board’s Risk and Sustainability Committee and member of the People, Remuneration and Culture Committee.

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