December 31/Deerfield, IL/Business Wire -- Beam Global Spirits & Wine Inc. [Fortune Brands Inc.] announced that Bill Newlands, former president of Beam Wine Estates will rejoin the company to serve in a newly created role as senior vice president, U.S. Commercial Development. The company also announced that Jim Clerkin is leaving Beam Global Spirits & Wine to spend more time with his family and to pursue other interests.

Newlands will report directly to president and CEO, Tom Flocco, and serve on the company's executive committee. While brand marketing remains under chief marketing officer Rory Finlay, Newlands will assume responsibility for U.S. regional marketing, commercial activation and the sales training function while working closely and collaborating with Future Brands and distributor partners. Newlands will officially start in his new role on February 1, 2008, after fulfilling his commitments to Constellation Brands on January 31, 2008.

"Bill's experience leading Beam Wine Estates and his savvy commercial and organizational skills will help us further enhance our competitive position in the U.S., by focusing on U.S. market commercial activation, sales and distributor management," stated Flocco.

Flocco continued, "We thank Jim Clerkin for his committed service and contributions to Beam Global Spirits & Wine and wish him well."

Newlands was appointed president of Beam Wine Estates, the U.S. wine business of Beam Global Spirits & Wine Inc., in July 2005, following Beam Global's expansion of its wine portfolio from Allied Domecq. He led the top-five super-premium wine company to five-year compounded double-digit growth in profits with sales approaching three million cases annually, helping to facilitate and close the sale of Beam Wine Estates to Constellation Brands in December 2007.

Prior to joining Beam Wine Estates, Newlands was president and CEO of Allied Domecq Wines, North America where he led the company in a strategic direction that successfully expanded the super-premium spectrum of the business. He also served as president and CEO of; president and CEO of the North American Still and Sparkling Wine Group of Louis Vuitton Moet Hennessy's; and vice president of marketing at Ernest & Julio Gallo.

Newlands received a Master of Business Administration degree from Harvard Business School and a Bachelor of Science in Marketing and Human Relations from The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania.

From the January 7, 2008, Prepared Foods e-Flash