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The Constellation Brands CEO Who Pushed the Alcohol Conglomerate Into Cannabis Is Leaving

October 18, 2018, 8:51 AM UTC

Constellation Brands Inc.’s Chief Executive Officer Rob Sands will step aside in March after more than a decade on the job, handing the reins to his top deputy, the company said in a statement.

The transition appears to be orderly. Incoming CEO Bill Newlands, an alcohol industry veteran, joined the company in 2015 and rose through the ranks. He took the COO job in early 2017 and added the president title earlier this year, putting him in line to take over from Sands.

Sands — who’ll become executive chairman — orchestrated the company’s high-profile investment in the Canadian cannabis business Canopy Growth Corp., marking the U.S. alcohol industry’s first major foray into legal marijuana. In addition to the push into cannabis, Sands oversaw the acquisition of the U.S. rights to Modelo and Corona beer.

Constellation shares (STZ-B) briefly slipped in late trading. The stock is little changed this year. The company didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.