Chairman and CEO Isiah Thomas Names Guy L. Smith
as the Chief Strategic Officer and Vice Chairman of the Advisory Committee to ISIAH Imports
Chicago, IL – Today, Isiah Thomas, Chairman and CEO of ISIAH Imports announced Guy Smith as the Chief Strategic Officer and Vice Chairman of the Advisory Committee to ISIAH Imports.
Smith brings with him more than 44 years of experience in the alcohol beverage industry. He served as Executive Vice President of Diageo (the world’s largest alcoholic beverage company) from 2000-2016, and was responsible for all internal and external relations, government and regulatory affairs, corporate civic responsibility, brand public relations, and corporate reputation management. Smith oversaw successful efforts for over 17 years to even out the regulatory playing field between beer and wine and spirits, bringing much-needed innovation and modernization to what had before been a lopsided advantage that beer had over wine and spirits categories.
“We are excited to have Guy on board. His depth of experience, knowledge and strategic capabilities will complement our growing team of seasoned executives,” said Isiah Thomas. “We are constantly exploring opportunities to expand Cheurlin Champagne’s reach, and drive awareness of our award-winning product. Guy has a proven track record and will play an integral role in our immediate goal of providing French champagne to millions of responsible drinkers around the world.”
Smith has also led efforts for the alcohol industry to seek common ground with the anti-drunk driving movement, especially Mothers Against Drunk Driving, and was a driving force in advancing responsible drinking to the alcoholic beverage industry.
In Smith’s newest role, he will assist ISIAH Imports and Cheurlin Champagne with its strategic planning, sales and marketing efforts, special promotions, government and regulatory affairs, and brand public relations. He will also work closely with the Cheurlin team to develop expanded distributor and wholesaler agreements around the United States and throughout the world. Already a leader in responsible drinking advocacy, Smith will work with the Cheurlin team to expand responsible drinking actions everywhere its products are sold.
“I am very excited to have this opportunity to work for two icons: Isiah Thomas is a sports icon and Cheurlin champagne is a champagne icon. That is a combination that will bring awesome French champagne to millions of responsible drinkers throughout the United States and around the world. Cheurlin is an exciting product that holds iconic status among champagne lovers around the world. I look forward to joining the Cheurlin team,” Smith said.
Born and raised on Chicago’s West Side, Isiah Lord Thomas III’s professional career spans more than three decades in sports, business, and entertainment. Isiah has garnered worldwide attention for his contributions in all levels of professional basketball, including induction into the NBA Hall of Fame, and for his distinctive business start-ups and philanthropic endeavors.
A wine and champagne enthusiast, Isiah wanted to produce great tasting champagne without the added sugar found in most brands. His research revealed France’s champagne growers pay homage to nature focusing on soil, topography, and climate. Isiah concluded that artisanship was the answer and the future of champagne. His pursuit led him to the Cheurlin family who has crafted France’s finest champagnes since 1788. Confident they are the region’s best producer of champagne – an alliance was born.
From their vineyards in Celles-Sur-Ource, Cheurlin has leveraged the optimal climate and fertile grounds of historic Champagne, France to produce award-winning Champagne that generations have enjoyed. Cheurlin’s prominence in the Champagne industry is well reflected in its scroll of prestigious recognitions.
Unlike celebratory Champagnes that are limited to special occasions, Cheurlin Champagnes are acclaimed for their versatility, which makes them ideal for food pairing.
Cheurlin uses three main grape varietals (Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Pinot Blanc) to produce four distinctly elegant, vibrant, and enjoyable Champagnes.