Bidding a double warm goodbye in Orlando

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Martin Moodie
Martin Moodie is the Founder & Chairman of The Moodie Report.

We received a nice note this week from the splendid team at Germany drinks company Waldemar Behn concerning their US travel retail representative George Sternberg.

“This year’s Summit of the Americas is approaching, and Waldemar Behn regrets to say goodbye to its US broker for almost a decade, George Sternberg, who has decided to retire,” says Behn’s Global Sales Director Torben Vedel Andersen. “We thank George and Katrin for their invaluable support and friendship and wish them all the best for the future.”

The Moodie Davitt Report echoes those sentiment, as will many in the travel retail and drinks sectors.

George Sternberg, a long-time ASUTIL board member, pictured with the association’s Secretary-General José Luis Dongaray in 2007

George has been an outstanding servant not just to Behn (owner of Danzka vodka and numerous other leading brands) but to numerous drinks businesses down the years. In 2006, when Latin American Duty Free Manager for Bacardi, he was presented with a Lifetime Achievement Award by South American Duty Free Association ASUTIL in Chile.

As we noted at the time, George, a modest, respected and popular man, has served the region and his various companies from Seagram to Bacardi (and since to Behn) with immense distinction down the years.

“I started in this business when duty free was a collection of small shops selling whisky, perfume and cigarettes,” he commented when receiving his accolade.

Spirited souls: George and Katrin Sternberg with Torben Vedel Andersen (right)

No-one could say that of the channel these days and in his quiet, professional way, George has played a key role in the transformation.

This year’s show in Orlando (the first Summit of the Americas) will also mark a big change in the career of Torben Vedel Andersen, popularly known as ‘Mr Danzka’. Torben is not retiring (heck, he’s not even shy) but he is handing over responsibility for the Americas to focus on other markets, notably Asia Pacific.

Somehow the Americas show won’t be the same without these two great contributors to our business. I won’t be the only one looking forward to raising a glass in their individual and collective honour in Orlando.

Mr Danzka with, as always, the world at his feet


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