James France has decided to depart Vanguard Luxury Brands, the boutique liquor distribution business he founded in 2008 and recently sold to Lion.
“After months of deep reflection and as I turn 60, I have come to the decision that it’s the right time for me to leave Vanguard,” said France.
After working closely with both Vanguard and Lion teams to ensure a smooth transition, he said the former is now ready to enter the next phase of its growth.
“Everyone at Lion has been incredibly supportive at every turn, and I will always be grateful for this.”
Danny Connolly, GM of Vanguard, said France fully supports the company’s direction and is confident of the business’s bright future.
“I know James will be a Vanguard advocate for life and look forward to him remaining a member of the extended Vanguard family,” said Connolly.
“We all thank James for creating this wonderful company and his fantastic contribution to the Australian spirits industry.”
On his next steps, France added in jest that he’d take a few months off to reset and “go vegan, stop drinking, and do yoga”.
“Actually, probably not,” he retracted.
“But I do know that I’d like to stay in the industry in some capacity because I don’t want to walk away from over 30 years of friendships, experience and fun. I’ll look at all options, maybe even starting up that dog-friendly bar called Sit & Stay.”
France’s final day at the company will be on May 11.