Rob Sands announced after the bell Wednesday that he'll step down next March as CEO of Constellation Brands (STZ) , parent company of Corona Beer, Robert Mondavi wines and other popular alcoholic drinks. The move came just hours after his firm celebrated Canada's legalization of cannabis -- a market that Sands placed a $4 billion wager in August when Constellation made a mega-investment in Canadian weed leader Canopy Growth Corp. (CGC) .
Constellation tapped current company President Bill Newlands to succeed Sands. "Bill understands what it takes to succeed in this rapidly evolving market, and he's the right person to lead our company going forward," Sands said in a statement.
Newlands will be the first non-Sands to run the company, which was founded in 1945 by Rob's father, Marvin. Rob Sands' elder brother Richard ran the company from 1993 to 2007. "I am honored to be selected as Constellation Brands' next CEO," Newlands said. "I have a tremendous amount of respect and admiration for the leadership Rob, Richard and Marvin Sands provided over the years."
Investors seemed to endorse Newlands' elevation, as STZ shares rose 0.6% to $228.50 in after-hours trading following the news. Jim Cramer interviewed Newlands and Canopy Growth CEO Bruce Linton on Saturday at TheStreet's Boot Camp for Investors. You can watch their full interview here.
As for Rob Sands, he had a successful tenure since signing on as CEO in 2007. Constellation enjoyed unprecedented expansion under his leadership, headlined by a $4.75 billion deal with Anheuser Busch Inbev (BUD) to acquire the U.S. rights to Mexico's Corona and Modelo beer brands. All told, Sands achieved more than a 900% return for investors over the course of his career, according to a Bloomberg analysis.