Brown-Forman general counsel to retire in May

Matt Hamel, Brown-Forman general counsel and secretary, will retire on 1 May when associate general counsel for regional and corporate development Mike Carr will take his place.

Hamel will step down on 1 May 2024 after a 16-year career with the company.

During his time as general counsel, Hamel led Brown-Forman’s legal, compliance, risk, and public affairs teams. He oversaw trademarks, litigation, acquisitions, enterprise risk management, government relations, and more.

Lawson Whiting, president and CEO of Brown-Forman, said: “Matt has led the global expansion of Brown-Forman’s legal department, further deepened our strong culture of ethics and compliance, and helped root key business decisions in our values.

“His counsel is evident not only in our daily practices and thoughtful corporate and board governance, but also in the long-term positioning and strategy of our company. We thank Matt for his years of service and wish him well in retirement.”

As Hamel’s successor, Carr will serve as the primary legal advisor to the board of directors and the company, and will lead the global compliance, legal, risk, and public affairs teams. 

Carr has been with Brown-Forman for more than a decade. Prior to joining Brown-Forman, he practised corporate and securities law with Frost Brown Todd in Kentucky and Bass, Berry & Sims in Tennessee. 

In his current position, Carr was part of Brown-Forman’s recent acquisitions of Gin Mare and Diplomático, as well as the negotiation of global agreements such as the Jack Daniel’s and Coca-Cola ready-to-drink relationship.

Whiting added: “Mike’s deep expertise and influence spans every market where Brown-Forman conducts business. He has been instrumental in overseeing legal affairs and providing sound, strategic legal guidance for large and complex matters.

“His leadership capabilities and unique mix of experiences within Brown-Forman, coupled with his background as an attorney and certified public accountant, have prepared Mike well for this role. I look forward to partnering with Mike as we continue to grow the business for the long term.”

This transition in general counsel comes amidst a report of weaker sales in the first half of Brown-Forman’s 2024 fiscal year, as well as the decision to outsource RTD production to focus on its American whiskey.

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Author: Josh Osman