Constellation Brands CEO Rob Sands will step down in March

  • Constellation Brands CEO Rob Sands will step down on March 1.
  • Sands will become executive chairman.
  • Bill Newlands, who currently serves as Constellation's president and chief operating officer, will become Constellation's next CEO.
Robert Sands, CEO, Constellation Brands
Scott Mlyn | CNBC
Robert Sands, CEO, Constellation Brands

Constellation Brands CEO Rob Sands will step down on March 1 as he assumes the role of executive chair, the company announced Wednesday.

The alcohol beverage company said Bill Newlands will become its next CEO.

Newlands joined the company in 2015 and currently serves as its president and chief operating officer. He is an alcohol industry veteran, having previously served in a number of leadership roles including president of Beam Spirits, and managing director, U.S. and global marketing officer of LVMH Chandon Estates.

Sands said in a statement that Newlands "understands what it takes to succeed in this rapidly evolving market and he's the right person to lead our company going forward."

Sands will succeed his brother, Richard, who will become executive vice chair.

The Wall Street Journal first reported the news.

Rob Sands told the Journal that, as executive chairman, he will stay involved with the company, overseeing Constellation's $4 billion investment in Canopy Growth, the first publicly traded cannabis company in North America.

Sands has been at Constellation since 1986. His brother, Richard, also previously served as Constellation CEO.

Rob Sands told the Journal, "It's good to get some fresh thinking."

Shares of Constellation initially slipped about 1 percent in after-hours trade, but were last seen trading more than 1.6 percent higher.