Paul Varga was appointed president and chief executive officer of Brown-Forman Corporation on August 1, 2005, and became chairman of the company in August 2007. He has been a member of the company’s board of directors since 2003.
Prior to becoming CEO, Varga served as president and chief executive officer of the company’s Brown-Forman Beverages subsidiary from 2003 to 2005. Since Varga assumed responsibility for the company’s beverage business in 2003, Brown-Forman’s reported annual operating income has grown from $378 million to $685 million, representing a compound annual growth rate of 12%.
Varga also served as senior vice president and chief marketing officer for Brown-Forman Beverages. In this capacity, he oversaw the global marketing efforts for the company’s spirit brands.
After beginning his career at Brown–Forman as a summer intern at Brown-Forman in May of 1986, Varga worked in Chicago, Southern California, Nashville, and Louisville in a variety of important positions, including many years of overseeing the company’s most important brand, Jack Daniel’s. Starting in the mid-1990’s, Varga helped the company establish its global brand management system which today continues to provide marketing direction on behalf of Brown-Forman’s brands throughout the world.
Varga is a member of the executive committee of Greater Louisville, Inc. (the Louisville Chamber of Commerce) and concentrates his work there on the Business Leaders for Education initiative. He is also a member of the board of directors of the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce, the YMCA of Louisville, and the Three Chimneys Farm, a Kentucky-based thoroughbred horse business. Varga is a past board member of the Muhammad Ali Center and the Louisville Urban League.
Varga earned his bachelor of business administration degree in finance from the University of Kentucky in 1985. He went on to earn his master’s in business administration at Purdue University in 1987.
Varga resides in Louisville with his wife, Melissa, and their three children.