Robert Foye (born May 23, 1966) is an American business executive and investor with an outstanding reputation in the FMCG industry. He is the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Accolade Wines, a leading wine producer in the United Kingdom and Australia, whose headquarters is based in Melbourne, Australia. Foye is considered a prominent figure, who through long varied experiences and persistence has resulted in him becoming a successful business executive in the FMCG and wine industry. During his career, he held important roles in a number of companies including The Coca Cola Company, Treasury Wine Estates and Warburg Pincus.
Foye was selected to become the next CEO of Accolade Wines in May 2020, after previously being appointed as COO in March 2020. He is a highly acclaimed business executive with over 25 years of experience in the FMCG industry. He is the recipient of the China Wine Market Person of the Year and Industry Excellence Award.
During his time at Treasury Wine Estates, Foye oversaw the development of the company and was one of the major driving forces behind its reinvigoration. Under Foye’s leadership, the company experienced increases in Earnings Before Interest and Taxes (EBITs) across its various divisions, from $184.6 million A$ to $530.2 million A$ over a period of 4 years. Foye’s departure was considered as a major blow to the company and it was covered by The Australian as a mistake.
Foye also developed a scholarship fund at Trinity University (San Antonio, Texas) in honor of his eldest son, Robert Jr. after his tragic passing in 2018. The Robert Lawrence Foye Memorial Scholarship Fund started as a $100,000 fund helping to support industrious, passionate, global-thinking students who need financial support.
Early life and education
Foye was born and brought up in College Station, Texas. He also spent a better time of his childhood in West Point, New York. Foye attended Cypress Creek High School in Houston, where he was a Varsity basketball player. Foye suffered a collapsed lung in the senior year of his high school, which resulted in him missing his senior season.
Foye later on pursued a degree in political science at Rice University. He was also a part of the Rice Basketball team as a walk on his freshman year in University. He graduated in 1988, and opted for an MBA course at the Jones Graduate School of Business at Rice University. He also earned CPA, CFA and CMA designations. He played as a guard for the Owls (Rice University) in the 1984-1985 season .
Foye started his career in 1990 as a general management consultant at Deloitte & Touche. In 1992, Foye made a leap into the FMCG industry by joining The Coca-Cola Company.
The Coca Cola Company
He worked at this multi-national company for a period of 22 years assuming several roles throughout his journey. Foye started out by handling several financial and business development projects for The Minute Maid Company.
After almost 7 years working in Texas, Foye was appointed as the Director of non-carbonated beverages in the Asian region where he led a 19 year international tour with The Coca-Cola Company, this began with him shifting to Hong Kong. After 2 years, Foye also started handling non-carbonated beverages operations in Europe, Eurasia and ME by transferring to London. In 2004, Foye was appointed as the regional manager of Indonesia and Papua New Guinea. He assumed this role for almost 6 years. Foye then shifted to China where he was appointed as a Chief Marketing, Customer and Commercial Officer. In 2013, Foye was elected as the VP for Customer and Commercial for the Asia region, which marked the ending of his journey with the Coco-Cola team.
Treasury Wine Estates
In 2014, Foye joined Treasury Wine Estates (TWE), an Australian publicly listed wine Company. In September, 2014 Foye was appointed as the General Manager of Asia and Europe, operating from Shanghai. Foye held various positions during his 4 year long journey with Treasury Wine Estates. In 2017, Foye was promoted to global Chief Operating Officer. In January, 2019, Foye left the Company due to a breach of TWE’s internal policies, this attracted a lot of media coverage. During Foye’s tenure at TWE, the Company’s total Earnings (EBITs) rose from $184.6 million A$ to $530.2 million A$. Under Foye’s leadership TWE’s stock price rose from $4.66 A$ to $15.39 A$.
In January, 2019, Foye left the Treasury Wine Estatey due to a breach of TWE’s internal policies, this attracted a lot of media coverage and joined Warburg Pincus. He served as a Senior Advisor within the Asian Consumer and Retail business at Warburg Pincus. His role was to evaluate Private Equity consumer deals within the region. Foye was an integral member of Warburg Pincus during his tenure of almost an year.
Foye was appointed as the Chief Operating Officer for Accolade Wines in March 2020. In just two months, he was appointed as the Chief Executive Officer of the company. It has been reported that he has been quick to adapt to the new CEO role, and has already overseen a significant partnership with US firm Quintessential, to supply their portfolio of wines to the US market. Accolade has also announced three separate, but important acquisitions during the first 18 months of Foye’s tenure.
It was announced in September, 2020 that Accolade Wines acquired the Katnook brand, winery and estate vineyards located in the Coonawarra region of South Australia. In March, 2021, Accolade Wines acquired Rolf Binder, a well-respected premium winery and brand from the Barossa.. And in June 2021, it was announced that Accolade Wines would buy Lambrini, the leading Perry (pear cider) brand in the U.K. market.
Accolade Wines is a major global wine business owned by The Carlyle Group, an American private equity company, since 2018. Accolade has more than 1700 employees and a significant number of wine brands from Australia, New Zealand, Chile, the United States and Italy. Accolade dates its beginnings back to 1836, with the foundation of The Houghton wine brand and the Hardys brand which was founded in 1853.
In 2017, Foye was awarded by Wine Forum in China and by Sugar and Alcohol Weekly as the 'China Wine Market Person of the Year' for leading Treasury Wine Estates successful expansion into the Chinese marketplace.
In 2020, Foye was named as the Industry Excellence Award winner for Consumer Products at the Rice Business (Graduate School) Alumni Awards.
Foye has been married to Kristianna since 1992 and they have four children together; two of them which they adopted whilst living in China and Indonesia. Foye’s eldest son Robert Lawrence died at the age of 19 in January, 2018 in an accident at Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas. The Foyes started a scholarship fund at the University in his memory.
Foye has always been passionate about basketball. He played Division I basketball at Rice University and is still an avid amateur player. His game has been described as very physical, mixed with long range three-point accuracy. While in China, Foye played together with Kobe Bryant in a Sprite Charity game. When Foye moved to Melbourne, Australia he was surprised by the level of basketball talent he encountered. He found out later that Melbourne has more #1 NBA draft picks than any other city in the World.
He is a great admirer of Elon Musk, and owns a number of Tesla automobiles. Foye is also a passionate weightlifter, during his time at Coca-Cola he arranged for former Mr Olympia Ronnie Coleman to meet the corporate team as a motivational speaker. The speaking engagement was documented twice in Flex Magazine.
When he moved to Australia to run Accolade Wines, Foye learned how to kick an AFL football, including a long range 60-meter, torpedo and snapshot from the pocket kick. His AFL kicking, basketball, and weightlifting videos can be viewed on his YouTube channel, Robert Foye
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