Foster’s Group loses MD of Australia and Asia-Pacific

Posted by Daniel Palmer on 11th November 2008

Foster’s Group Limited yesterday announced that Jamie Odell, Managing Director Australia, Asia, Pacific, will leave the Company on Friday 14 November to pursue other interests.

It has been suggested that the decision was made by Odell because he was recently overlooked for the role as CEO, which was assumed by former non-executive director Ian Johnston. Mr Odell had been in charge of Foster’s wine division until 2006 before moving to his current role. It is believed that he was keen to take the position of CEO, but The Australian suggests his previous link to their fledgling wine division may have been partly responsible for the decision not to appoint him to the top job.

“I personally thank Jamie for his contribution in various senior roles over 9 years with the Company and sincerely wish him well as he seeks fresh challenges in the future,” Mr Johnston said.

Foster’s is still completing a review of their wine operations, during which they have ruled out a possible sale of their wine business due to current market conditions – according to the Australian Financial Review.

International brewer Molson Coors last week reported they had a 5.26% stake in Australia’s largest brewer, heightening speculation that a takeover bid may be on the horizon. A bid appears unlikely until the wine review is completed, though, and could be anticipated to most likely to occur if Foster’s decides to separate their wine and beer operations.

Pending the outcome of their wine review, the heads of the Australian Sales and Marketing functions, and the Managing Director, Asia/Pacific will report directly to the CEO Ian Johnston and the regional heads of Finance, HR and Supply Services will report to the Chief Financial Officer, Chief HR Officer and Chief Supply Officer respectively. The overall regional leadership team will be chaired by Mr Johnston.