Compass Box founder John Glaser to step down

Compass Box founder John Glaser to step down

Glaser, who founded the trailblazing Scotch whisky company in 2000, has announced his intention to step back from the business


Image credit: Chris Floyd

News | 01 Mar 2024

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John Glaser is set to leave Compass Box, the Scotch whisky blending house he founded two decades ago.


American ex-pat Glaser, a former marketing director at Johnnie Walker, established Compass Box in 2000 with the aim of refreshing the blended whisky market, challenging long-held conceptions (and misconceptions) about the category, and promoting greater transparency in Scotch whisky.


Its approach was exemplified in products including the Spaniard, Peat Monster, Asyla, and its groundbreaking blended grain whisky Hedonism — which was relaunched as an annual release last month — which earned Glaser and Compass Box a reputation on the international stage. 


But Glaser, who still serves as a whisky maker for the company, said in a statement this week that “after an “extraordinary 23-year journey” he was stepping away from the business. It is understood he will leave the company in the spring.


“The decision wasn’t an easy one, but I firmly believe that now is the right time to pass on the reins to the new management and embark on fresh endeavours in my career,” he said.


“As I embark on this new chapter, please know that my love for the Compass Box brand goes beyond reason. I will continue to champion and support Compass Box as a devoted fan, advocate, and shareholder. I am confident that the brand will continue to flourish and evolve.”


Compass Box's reputation has attracted attention from some big fish in the global drinks pond. Bacardi bought a minority stake in the company in 2015, which it held until 2022. The same year, London-based investment firm Caelum Capital acquired a majority stake in the business, and Maurice Doyle, a former Bacardi executive with extensive experience in drinks sales and marketing, was named as its new CEO.


In 2020, Glaser was inducted into the Whisky Magazine Hall of Fame.

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