Former Cognetas French head back in business

Jean Ducroux has come out of semi-retirement to found Aryon, an investment and advisory business, which has opened its account with a deal in France’s spirits sector. US rap star Snoop Dogg is a fan of one the house brands.

Jean Ducroux, the former head and founder of Cognetas’ French business, has returned to the fray with the launch of Aryon, an advisory and investment firm.

Ducroux, who retired earlier this year, still advises Cognetas’ funds.

Aryon has made its first investment backing spirit producer Cognac Ferrand. The company makes Cognac Landy, a brand promoted in the US by rapper Snoop Dogg.

Dogg: brandy

The business turns over about €20 million producing and distributing a number of brands including the cognacs Landy, Pierre Ferrand and Claude Chatelier, as well as Citadelle gin and Plantations rum.

Aryon is investing alongside strategic partners W.J. Deutsch & Sons and Coréen KookSoonDang Brewery. The three new investors will own 49 percent of the venture alongside Alexandre Gabriel, Cognac Ferrand’s founder.

The total consideration was not disclosed.

Ducroux stepped down from Cognetas in March, 13 years after opening the office. Edward Koopman and Patrick Eisenchteter have been named as co-heads of the team of six.

Koopman joined Cognetas in 1999 after working for BNP Paribas, Baring Brothers and consultancy Bain & Company. Eisenchteter led the group’s investment in food group Diana Ingrédients. Before joining Cognetas in 2001, he worked for consultancy Arthur Andersen and Fonds Partenaires, a group of private equity funds sponsored by investment bank Lazard.