MIAMI, Feb. 1, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- Southern Wine & Spirits of America, Inc. (Southern)—the nation's leading wine and spirits distributor with operations in 35 markets—today announced the retirement of Will Conniff, Executive Vice President, General Manager of the company's Illinois, Kentucky and Minnesota divisions. Conniff's retirement will be effective March 1, 2016.
The industry veteran has devoted 38 years to Southern after joining the Southern Wine and Spirits of Florida division in 1978, as a sales assistant in the Orlando, Fla. market. Over the years, Conniff has risen quickly through the ranks: In 1981, he was promoted to Restaurant Supervisor and then named Restaurant Division Manager in 1983. In 1993, Conniff was named Vice President and General Manager of Southern Wine and Spirits of Florida's South Florida sales region. Following the acquisition of two Kentucky distributorships in 1998 by Southern, Conniff became Executive Vice President, General Manager of Southern Wine and Spirits of Kentucky and continued to add additional markets under his leadership in the years that followed—Illinois in 2005 and Minnesota in 2012.
"Working with the Chaplin family and all my Southern colleagues—the Southern Family—has truly been a privilege, both professionally and personally. Having the opportunity to lead the Kentucky, Illinois and Minnesota markets has been a cornerstone of my career. I am honored and humbled for the great opportunities Southern has afforded me," said Conniff.
Celebrating his nearly four decades of service to Southern, Harvey R. Chaplin, Southern's Chairman, said, "Will joined us when were a much smaller company than today, but he has played an absolutely critical role in helping our organization grow and become a world-class company. He has always been tirelessly focused on serving our suppliers and our customers, and he has been widely recognized in the industry for his skills and dedication. We salute him and wish him well as he begins this next phase of his life."
"On behalf of the senior leadership team and Will's many colleagues across Southern, I want to personally express our thanks for his many years of unwavering service," added Wayne E. Chaplin, Southern's President & CEO. "We applaud all his professional accomplishments over the years and want to wish Will a great new chapter in life as he begins his retirement. We wish Will and his family all good things for the future."
"Will began in the industry as a sommelier, joined the company as a salesman and let his record of professionalism grow at Southern—serving as a shining example to our entire Southern Family. He is not only respected across the entire Southern footprint, but also across the U.S. and internationally," said Mel Dick, President, Wine Division and Senior Vice President of Southern. "Will has always displayed talent, drive and focus, and I am proud to have been a mentor to him during his time not only in Florida, but also as he progressed professionally and took on greater responsibilities for the company."
"The entire senior leadership team has come to depend on Will's professionalism, industry expertise and wisdom—and we are all extremely grateful for his distinguished career at Southern," said Brad Vassar, Southern's Executive Vice President, Chief Operating Officer. "His skill and loyalty are unsurpassed and a great example for us all. Congratulations, Will, on an outstanding record of service to our suppliers and our customers—and to each of us here at Southern."
Southern Wine & Spirits of America, Inc. is the nation's largest wine and spirits distributor and broker with operations in 35 markets. The multi-state distributor currently operates in: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Florida, Kentucky, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Maryland, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia and Wyoming. Southern also holds operating licenses and permits in Nebraska, North Dakota and South Dakota. On a national basis, Southern Wine & Spirits of America, Inc. employs more than 14,500 team members. Southern urges all retail customers and adult consumers to market, sell, serve and enjoy its products responsibly.
For more information about Southern and its responsible consumption program, see: http://www.southernwine.com.
SOURCE Southern Wine & Spirits of America, Inc.