Former BBC journalist Penny Richards is to replace Siobhan Turner as executive director of the Institute of Masters of Wine.
Penny Richards was originally a journalist and spent many years working in foreign news at the BBC.
Richards, who finished her career at the BBC as Asia-Pacific bureau editor, will take up the post at the IMW in May this year.
Currently Richards is the director of global advocacy and research for VSO (Voluntary Service Overseas) based in London, and before that she was the head of communications and advocacy for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in India.
Following her career at the BBC, Penny was CEO at The Elders, an organisation which worked for peace and human rights using a group of independent former world leaders including Archbishop Desmond Tutu, President Jimmy Carter and Kofi Annan.
“We were very fortunate to have a strong list of highly qualified candidates from both within and without the wine world, and Penny really stood out among them,” said Jean-Michel Valette MW, chairman of the Institute.
Valette also thanked Turner – who is leaving the role of executive director at the end of March – for her work heading up the IMW.
“We would not be in the good position we are in without the nine years of dedicated commitment and tireless efforts of Siobhan Turner and her team,” he commented.
“I am sure all of my fellow members and the wider Master of Wine community join me in offering Siobhan our sincerest thanks and very best wishes for her next ventures.”
Meanwhile, Richards said she was “absolutely thrilled to be joining the Institute”.
Siobhan Turner is leaving the IMW at the end of March after nine years
She also said, “I have known of its remarkable reputation for some time, and have always been in awe of its members’ and students’ talent and dedication.
“I feel privileged to be taking up the executive director role, and hope I can help maintain the drive for excellence exemplified by Siobhan and her team,” she added.
Over the course of March, Turner will be introducing Richards to the Institute’s activities and affairs, however, due to her current engagements, Richard’s official start is one month after Turner’s March 31 departure.
In the interim month of April, the Institute’s day to day operations will be in the capable hands of Peter Csizmadia-Honigh (for issues relating to education and exams), Ben McKeown (for communications and events) and Daleen Halford (for accounting and administration).