Ettore Nicoletto to leave Santa Margherita

Ettore Nicoletto, the well-respected CEO of Italy's Santa Margherita Group, has resigned. Michèle Shah reports.

Luca Marzotto, Ettore Nicoletto and Gaetano Marzotto
Luca Marzotto, Ettore Nicoletto and Gaetano Marzotto

Ettore Nicoletto, Group CEO of the Santa Margherita Wine Group, the Italian wine giant owned by the third generation of the Marzotto family, will be stepping down in April 2020.

“This decision was made by mutual agreement and in total harmony between the Marzotto family and Ettore Nicoletto the Group’s CEO,” says head of public relations, Virginia Stancheris.

Founded in 1935 by Count Gaetano Marzotto Jr, the Santa Margherita Wine Group is one of the most significant players in Italian wine, with 10 different estates around the country. Last year, it sold more over 22m bottles in 94 countries. The company entered the wine history books when it introduced Pinot Grigio to the US market, kicking off a wine craze that has lasted decades.

Nicoletto became CEO in 2008, tasked with opening new markets and acquiring new businesses. During his tenure, the Group has grown both geographically and in terms of distribution and has acquired new companies in Conegliano Valdobbiadene, Lugana and Sardinia, placing it among the top performers in the Italian wine sector. 

 “These years have been very exciting and extremely gratifying,” said Nicoletto. “As far as I am concerned, not only the results are important, but also the pride in having created a community of 400 employees, to whom I owe the success and quality of the work I have achieved.”

Nicoletto began his career in 1990 working for Casa Vinicola Zonin, where he held various positions including that of Export Director from 2000 to 2003. In 2004 he moved to Santa Margherita to restructure the company’s export department and sales network in Italy, as well as reprogramming its product portfolio. In 2005 he was appointed Director General.

“I also wish to thank the Marzotto family, who offered me this opportunity for professional growth and have always supported me when making the most complex decisions,” said Nicoletto.

Nicoletto is going out on a high, as 2018 was a peak year for the Group, with consolidated revenue reaching €177.4m, an increase of 5.1% on the previous year.

He did not say what he would be doing next, and Santa Margherita has not announced his replacement.

Nicoletto remains a member of the board of Italia del Vino – Consorzio (a Consortium made up of some of the most powerful producers in Italy), and is Vice President of the Wine Group Federvini. He is president of the Consorzio Tutela Lugana DOC and director of Federdoc.

Michèle Shah

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