Ex Oddbins boss to become Accolade CEO

Former Oddbins MD John Ratcliffe has been appointed CEO at Accolade Wines following the departure of the company’s Troy Christensen over one year ago.


Accolade Wines was bought from Constellation Brands by Champ Private Equity in January 2011

Previous CEO Christensen left Accolade on 30 November 2012, while the new company head, Ratcliffe, will take up the post on 3 February next year, meaning the business will have operated for 15 months without a CEO.

Ratcliffe, aged 56, has held a number of drinks industry directorships, and worked at the UK off-licence chain Oddbins from 1982 to 1996, where he rose through the ranks to become deputy managing director.

In 1996 he moved into Seagram UK, which owned Oddbins from 1984 to 2000, joining initially as marketing director but in 1997 he became managing director. He left Seagram in 2002 and set up his own business called Wine Consult.

In the last 10 years he has held a number of further directorships, including one at the now defunct Destination Wine Company, while he has been a director of Liberty Wines for the past 10 years and launched Australian wine brand Willunga 100 with Liberty Wines MD David Gleave MW back in 2005.

Accolade Wines was bought from Constellation Brands by Champ Private Equity in January 2011, taking on Accolade’s UK, Australian, Californian and South African wine businesses.

Among the brands owned by Accolade are Australia’s Hardys and Banrock Station, California’s Echo Falls and Geyser Peak, and South Africa’s Kumala and Stormhoek. Champ also owns and operates Accolade’s state of the art wine filling and bottling plant in Bristol, called Accolade Park.

Champ managing director and Accolade project director, John Haddock said that Ratcliffe would bring a history of entrepreneurship and a deep knowledge of the wine industry to the company.

“Over the past 11 years John has been providing operational and strategic expertise to the boards of multinationals, major financial institutions, distributors, retailers and brand owners across the globe,” he said.

Ratcliffe will take up his appointment on 3 February 2014 and will be spending his time in Accolade’s major markets and travelling from bases in Australia and the UK.

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