Metcash Liquor CEO steps down

Metcash has announced that the CEO of its Liquor pillar, Chris Baddock, has retired from the role due to health reasons.

Baddock was appointed CEO of Metcash Liquor in 2019. He was previously Director of Pinnacle & Direct at Endeavour Group. Before that he spent 11 years with Lion, in roles including Managing Director of Fine Wine Partners.

Metcash said that since joining the company in 2019, Baddock had overseen enormous growth in the Liquor pillar with sales
increasing almost 40% over the past three years.

The growth has been across all key areas of the business including sales to retail and on-premise customers, and in owned and exclusive brands.

“Chris is stepping down with the business well positioned for continued success,” Metcash said in an ASX statement.

“He leaves a formidable legacy which includes a successful growth strategy, as well as an experienced and highly engaged management team that is well regarded by the business’ customers and suppliers.”

John Barakat, the Liquor pillar’s General Manager of Merchandise and Operations, will lead the Liquor team while Metcash undertakes an extensive search for a successor. The search will include both internal and external candidates.

Baddock plans to have a four-month break and will then take up a part-time advisory role with Metcash to assist with the ongoing growth and success of the Liquor pillar.

Metcash Group CEO Doug Jones said: “Chris has made a significant contribution to the Liquor pillar and Metcash more broadly, and the Board and I sincerely thank him for his efforts and wish him all the best for a full recovery. I am pleased to have Chris on board in an advisory capacity as we work together towards our purpose of Championing Successful Independents, a purpose that I know Chris is a strong proponent of.”

Drinks Digest wishes Baddock the best during his recovery.

Messages of support flow

The drinks industry and its associates have rallied in support of Baddock and written a slew of heartfelt messages on LinkedIn following the announcement of his departure.

CUB CEO Danny Celoni said: “Wishing you all the best Chris and a very speedy recovery. You have had such a great impact on both the business and the industry and will be missed. Take care and speak soon.”

Former Lion MD James Brindley said: “All the best to Chris and Sam and family for a speedy and full recovery for Chris so we can have him back to his exuberant best.”

Lion Regional Sales Manager NSW Richard Matthews said: “All the very best Chris & wishing you a fast recovery. You are a true legend of the industry & are an inspirational leader to the masses. Your strength & resilience will see you bounce back soon.”

Accolade Wines MD Asia Pacific Andrew Clarke said: “Best wishes Mr Baddock! Take it easy and see you back soon!”

Cellarbrations at Gisborne owner Tony Bongiovanni said: “Chris has brought back a culture not only to the business, but also to the Independent Liquor Industry. We have seen immense growth in area’s such as Loyalty, ECommerce, and Private Label. Thank you Chris for your outstanding commitment to your role over the last four years or so. Your results are obvious to the IBA/ALM network.”

Archie Rose Distilling Co’s Mungo Gilchrist said: “Very sorry to hear this news Chris. Take it easy and I hope you are back to your best soon.”

Woolworths Senior Business Manager Mark Donkin said: “Sending every best wish mate. Please sing out if I can help at all Chris.”

Head of People, Business Partnering at QBE Insurance Rebecca Gallagher said: “Best wishes Chris Baddock you have absolutely made your mark not just on ALM but Metcash as a whole. You’ll be a hard act to follow.”

Group General Counsel at AVID Property Group Richard Amos said: “Chris lots of people on Linkedin will say things like ‘you are an inspirational, values oriented leader, a top bloke and you’ll be sorely missed by everyone’. The difference is I only say that stuff when it’s true. Go well, you legend.”

PwC Australia’s Justine Richardson said: “Chris, I’ve really enjoyed our discussions about the business and how to navigate transformation opportunities and challenges. Nothing more important than health though of course.”

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