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Maker’s Mark

Keeping leadership in the family

founded, and family-led ever since

Maker’s Mark started with a 170-year-old family recipe and turned into a world-renowned, small-batch bourbon whisky company — and it’s been led by a member of the Samuels family since 1953. Today, Rob Samuels is in charge of not “screwing up the whisky,” as his grandfather put it, and he now has the right leadership skills for the job.

The Challenge

Through global expansion, mergers and acquisitions, two things stayed the same: the whisky and the Samuels family’s leadership. The distiller needed help building succession plans for its future leaders. Having a Samuels at the helm only made sense if they had the right skills and were ready to take the reins.

The Solution

Maker’s Mark engaged Wipfli to help with two transitions. In 1975, the firm advised Bill Samuels Sr. on how to transfer leadership to his son, Bill Jr. Nearly 40 years later, Wipfli developed a succession plan for the founder’s grandson, Rob.

Rob’s training was carefully planned so he gained the right education, industry experience and leadership skills to run a multi-million dollar enterprise. His development plan used Predictive Index data, which provided insights into his personality and strengths — and how he could build on them to motivate others and lead teams.

The team is full of the right people and has been built carefully over time. That set up our succession for success.
Rob Samuels, Managing Director, Maker’s Mark

The results

Rob Samuels became Managing Director of the Maker’s Mark Distillery when his father retired. Executive coaching, leadership development and insights from Predictive Index helped Rob leverage his natural talents and build on the iconic brand.