The Distilled Spirits Council (DISCUS), Washington, D.C., announced the selection of Kraig R. Naasz, 55, the current head of the American Frozen Food Institute (AFFI), as its new president and chief executive officer. Naasz succeeds Peter H. Cressy, who guided DISCUS for the past 16 years, during which the spirits industry increased its market share by 22 percent, and supplier revenues more than doubled from $10.7 billion annually to more than $23 billion, the association reports. The appointment is effective Jan. 1, 2016.
“The Board is delighted to welcome Kraig as the new leader of DISCUS,” said Gerry Ruvo, chairman of Campari America and chair of the DISCUS Board of Directors, in a statement. “Kraig’s knowledge of the food and beverage marketplace, his extensive executive experience and professional network will help DISCUS advance its commercial, public policy and social responsibility agenda.”
DISCUS Vice Chair and Moёt Hennessy USA Chief Executive Officer Jim Clerkin, who led the eight-month national search process on behalf of the DISCUS Board of Directors, stated: “While there were many fine candidates, Kraig’s proven public policy and communications expertise makes him the right choice to build on the successful tenure of Peter Cressy.”
In accepting this position, Naasz said: “I’m extremely honored to have been selected to succeed Peter Cressy as the leader of DISCUS. I’m eager to engage and draw upon the expertise and enthusiasm of its members and staff to serve and advance the goals and objectives of the distilled spirits industry.”
Cressy stated: “I am confident the Board made the right choice in Kraig. He has the leadership experience plus the Washington savvy to ensure that the industry continues to be well-represented in Washington, in the states and around the globe.
“I look forward to working with Kraig and the Board over the next few months to ensure a smooth transition,” he added.
Naasz is an active member of several groups that advocate for the business community, including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Association Committee of 100, National Association of Manufacturers Council of Manufacturing Associations, Business-Industry Political Action Committee Board of Directors and the American Society of Association Executives’ Key Industry Associations Committee.
In addition to AFFI, Naasz previously served as the chief executive of the National Mining Association, The Fertilizer Institute and the U.S. Apple Association. Earlier in his career, Naasz worked as a communications and legislative aide for several members of the U.S. Senate and U.S. House of Representatives.