db awards 2014: The winners revealed

Man of the Year

Winner: Ian Harris, chief executive of WSET

“With a career spanning five decades in the wine industry, this year’s drinks business man of the year originally planned a career as a teacher. Fortunately for us, a year spent studying in Bordeaux convinced him to swerve from this path into the drinks trade. For the first 25 years, he worked in sales and marketing for companies including Waverley Vintners, where he was the company’s first wine development manager, and then Seagram, which involved a stint in Cognac as global marketing manager for Martell.

“When Seagram was taken over in 2002, he found his next challenge with the Wine & Spirits Education Trust, where he has now held the post of chief executive for the last 12 years. During that time, this educational charity has grown from training just over 10,000 candidates with a turnover of £1.7 million to last year’s achievement of nearly 50,000 candidates and a turnover of more than £8.5 million. Much of this growth has come from the WSET’s overseas expansion, which has taken the organisation from a body dominated by UK students to an educational powerhouse that now spans 558 centres in 62 countries and 18 languages.

“It is largely thanks to his energy and strategic skills that the WSET has reinvented itself as a leading global player in the field of wine and spirits education.”

Woman of the Year

Winner: Margareth Henriquez, CEO of Krug

“Our Woman of the Year was chosen for the impact she’s had on her company in a short space of time and for gaining respect in a close-knit region in which she’s an outsider. Joining in late 2008 when the global economy was in meltdown, it couldn’t have been a worse time to take the reins as the CEO of a global luxury brand. Her experience working for Chandon in Argentina during the economic crisis of 2001 stood our Venezuelan born winner in good stead for her next role.

“Since joining Champagne house Krug, she emphasized what sets Krug apart from other houses in terms of heritage and philosophy, while championing the ageing potential of the house’s flagship fizz, Krug Grand Cuvée.

“Over five years on from the financial crisis, Krug is enjoying growth in key markets like the UK, the US and Japan, but our winner is hungry for further success and has her sights set on China.”

Lifetime Achievement Award

Winner: Tom Yusef, chairman at JF Hillebrand

“This year’s recipient came to England from Cyprus in 1956 at the age of 11 with his family in search of new beginnings. His first job on leaving school aged 15 was sweeping the floors of the local barber’s shop, having been turned down for the chance to become a professional footballer – apparently because he was too short!

“He fell into a career in the shipping and logistics industry in 1961, when he was hired as a Dock messenger by one of the London Shipping Companies. Starting from the bottom, he gained a solid grounding in all aspects of logistics and, such was his business acumen and charm, in 1972, he was approached to establish a new venture called Ferry Freighting Group (FFG).

“By the early 80s, this company had grown to become the market leaders for the import of wines and spirits from Europe to the UK. In 1997 Ferry Freighting merged with JF Hillebrand and under his leadership, continued to expand its business in the UK, adapting over time to the evolving needs of the market, for example the more recent growth in bulk wine transportation.

Our recipient has also enjoyed long service as an Executive Board member of the WSTA, from which he retired earlier this year, and he was President of the Wine & Spirit Association between 2000 and 2002 – considered quite an achievement for a “Trucker”.

“He “officially” retired from JF Hillebrand in March this year, but has insisted it is “Au revoir”, not Good Bye.”

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