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Constellation executive Fernandez succumbs to brain cancer

Constellation Brands Inc. said Monday that Jose Fernandez, CEO of Constellation Wines North America, died Jan. 1 after a battle with brain cancer.

A 30-year veteran of the wine industry, Mr. Fernandez, 54, built a career focused on brand development, sales growth and business leadership, the company said.

He joined Constellation Brands in 2001 and played a key role in the rapid growth of the company’s wine business, including the acquisition and integration of the Robert Mondavi Corp., Vincor USA and Beam Wine Estates. After serving in various leadership roles, Mr. Fernandez was named CEO of Constellation Wines North America in 2007.

Mr. Fernandez was also a classically trained conductor from the Juilliard School in New York City.

"Jose was an enthusiastic leader and an innovator whose vision played a significant role in the growth and direction of the company,” said Robert Sands, Constellation Brands president and CEO in a statement. “He was a wonderful person with great values and will be missed by everyone across our entire organization."

The company said Jay Wright, president of Constellation Wines North America, will continue to lead the organization. Wright, who assumed his role on Dec. 1, was named executive vice president and chief commercial officer of Constellation Wines U.S. in March 2009. Prior to that, he served as president of Vincor Canada since October 2001.

Constellation ranked 13th on the most recent Rochester Business Journal list of manufacturers with 634 local workers.

(c) 2010 Rochester Business Journal. To obtain permission to reprint this article, call 585-546-8303 or e-mail rbj@rbj.net.



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