Spirits maker Brown-Forman Corp. says its CEO will retire at the end of the year, and will be succeeded by another veteran executive at the company best known for its Jack Daniel's Tennessee Whiskey brand

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — Spirits maker Brown-Forman Corp. says its CEO will retire at year’s end, to be succeeded by another veteran executive at the company best known for its Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Whiskey brand.

Paul Varga has been CEO of the Louisville-based company for more than a decade as part of a 31-year career. Varga says it’s the right time for the company to undergo a leadership transition.

The company says Varga will be succeeded by Lawson E. Whiting, who currently serves as Brown-Forman’s chief operating officer. Whiting, a 21-year veteran of the company, was unanimously approved by the company’s board of directors for the CEO job.

During his tenure, Varga focused Brown-Forman’s business on its premium spirits portfolio, expanded its global markets and oversaw the release of brand extensions.