Villa Maria Estate has appointed Abe Salt as CEO, who will take over from Sir George Fistonich after over 55 years at the helm. Sir George will continue to have a hands-on role in the company as founder and president. Salt will commence as CEO officially on March 5.

“Due to Villa Maria’s success as a major player globally, my ambassador role has become extremely time-consuming,” said Sir George. “As CEO, Abe will be able to manage the important day to day operations and strategic priorities for the company. This will allow me to concentrate on my global brand ambassadorial role and drive other large projects such as the development of our new winery and retail centre in Hawkes Bay.”

Salt joins Villa Maria with 15 years’ experience in the wine industry, investment banking and strategic advisory.