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Southcorp old boys head to the clouds

Published:  23 July, 2008

Former Southcorp CEO Keith Lambert has ended his three-year exile from the Australian wine industry to join his former employee, Philip Shaw, at Orange-based winery Cumulus Wines.

Lambert, who has bought a 51% share in the company, will be a director and chairman. He will be joined by another Southcorp refugee - Jeffrey Wilkinson, who was president of Southcorp Wines Europe until the company was acquired by FGL Wine Estates earlier this year - and will become CEO of Cumulus. Shaw, who has been instrumental in the company's restructuring over the past 18 months, remains, but he moves to the position of managing director, winemaking and production.

The appointment of Lambert will come as a surprise to

many in the Australian wine community. Lambert was widely criticised for his management of Southcorp in the wake of the reverse takeover' by Rosemount in 2001, where he presided over a highly aggressive discounting strategy, and he has been out of the wine industry ever since.

Cumulus's current chairman Peter Wedgwood said: We are delighted with the executive talent and wine-management experience that Cumulus has attracted. We are building a formidable team, poised to compete and win in this challenging industry.'