Deutsch Family Wine & Spirits, a leading importer and marketer of award-winning wines and spirits from around the world, is pleased to announce that it is promoting experienced sales leader Kelly Soendker to Executive Vice President, Sales. Soendker will be responsible for leading the company’s entire Sales function of 125 team members including Distributor Management, Strategic Accounts & International. With this move, Soendker becomes one of the only female head of sales for a major wine and spirits company.
A 10-year veteran of Deutsch Family, Soendker has more than 30 years of sales experience working with major chain customers in consumer package goods. In her previous role as the EVP of Strategic Accounts and International, she led the cross-functional selling organization responsible for the national, regional and international businesses and control boards. She also oversaw the business intelligence and category development functions supporting the off- premise chain channel, which remains a top strategic priority for the company.
“Our ambition is to have the most professional sales team in the industry and this is the next step in making that that a reality,” said Peter Deutsch, CEO, Deutsch Family. “Kelly has an unmatched track record of delivering outstanding results year in and year out building our brands the right way, solving customer problems and collaborating with our distributor partners and I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to widen her responsibility.”
Under her leadership, the DFWS share of the off-premise chain category has grown more than 50% fueling DFWS as the fastest growing major wine and spirits supplier in the industry. Led by the chain business, DFWS just completed a 5-year strategic cycle in March that saw the company grow revenue at a 5-tear CAGR of 10% to nearly $800 million and profit growth of 18%.
Prior to Deutsch Family, Soendker was Diageo’s Vice President of National Accounts Off- Premise. Other experience included Vice President of Sales, Campbell Soup Company responsible for the Walmart Team.
“No leader I have ever worked with exhibits the level of skill and inspiration in building effective teams,” said Tom Steffanci, President, Deutsch Family. “She is an expert in developing talent, inspiring people and delivering sustainable growth. She will be instrumental in helping us achieve our ambition of becoming a Division 1 company competing effectively with the biggest and best in our industry.”
This move enables the promotion for Lewis Wright backfilling Kelly as SVP, Strategic Accounts and he will continue to report to Kelly. Wright was previously the VP of Strategic Accounts for the East region. In his new role, Lewis will lead the Strategic Accounts sales team responsible for managing off- premise business performance in national chains, regional chains and control boards. Wright has been with Deutsch Family for seven years.
“I am confident that I’ll be successful in my new role because I am surrounded by a phenomenal team and I work for friends who share my values,” said Soendker. “The people are at the heart of this company, and I am blessed to continue to work with my amazing current team and have the privilege to work with a wider group of motivated Sales professionals as we lock arms and take this business to new heights. I couldn’t be more excited!”
Soendker will continue to report to Tom Steffanci and she now has eight direct reports. Reporting to Soendker will be Lewis Wright, SVP, Strategic Accounts; Ryan Rowder, SVP, Sales; Jeff Corbett, SVP, Sales; Tony Kalich, SVP, Distributor Relations and Sales Capability; Eric Lake, VP, National Accounts On-Premise; Suzy Kilgore, VP Commercial Planning and Execution; Karen Hattrup, VP Customer Development and Business Intelligence; and Dana Ryall, Director of International Sales.