Julien Froger, founder and director of Hong Kong’s fine wine merchant L’Imperatrice, has abruptly left the company, Vino Joy News has learned.
Details surrounding his departure are scarce, but rumors started to surface earlier this month including missing wines linked to Froger, to which L’Imperatrice did not directly address when reached by us.
Emails sent to Froger himself and its purchasing manager Vicky Chan were unanswered, but the company’s F&B sales manager Jessica Chan confirmed Julien indeed is no longer with L’Imperatrice, a company he founded in 2009.
“Julien has resigned from the company. For other matters, everything is still under investigation. We recommend you not to put false information in your article,” Chan replied without adding further details, when asked about rumors of missing wines.
Follow-up questions to her went unanswered at the date of publishing this article.
It’s not clear what promoted his departure and the ensuing company investigation, but a few sources in the wine industry who talked to Vino Joy News off the record said it was related to financial matters.
However, there are also rumors alleging it was not related to wine, but Froger was pushed out of the company he created.
Up till late April, Froger was still actively involved in company business and reached out to Vino Joy News regarding a charity auction to raise money for a few fine-dining restaurants affected by the coronavirus pandemic.
Founded in 2009 by Froger after Hong Kong eliminated wine tax, L’Imperatrice is a fine wine merchant specializing in Burgundy. Last year it was seeking public listing on Hong Kong stock exchange, and it put its sales revenue of 2019 at HK$ 205 million, majority of which came from Burgundy sales.
The listing appears to have been dropped at least for now, as searches for the company and its affiliated company Burgundy Empress Holding Limited generated no results on HKEX.