Invivo appoints ex-Accolade chief as director

Boutique New Zealand wine company Invivo Wines has appointed Paul Schaafsma, the former director of Accolade Wines, to lead the company as it eyes up global growth.

Former Accolade CEO Paul Schaafsma joins Invivo Wines

Invivo co-founder Tim Lightbourne described the appointment as an “incredible coup” for the New Zealand winery, which was set up in 2008 and broke a New Zealand record in 2015 by raising more than NZ$2 million (£1m) in a crowdfunded drive. The company is aiming to hit sales worth NZ$25m (£12.6m) by 2020 and last week reported a 70% jump in sales

“We’re over the moon to have a director with Paul’s background and understanding of the wine world,” he said. “We spent a long time finding the right director to join our board, but when we spoke with Paul it was obvious he shared the same ideas about brand building and standing out from the crowd as we do.”

Invivo recently revealed plans to develop the winery further as well as launch a new Prosecco as part of its collaboration with TV chat show host Graham Norton. The TV star’s GN wine brand, which launched in 2014, is now available in six countries worldwide and claims to be one of the fastest-growing wine brands, with plans to sell up to 1.5 million bottles.

Schaafsma said the company had established itself as a true innovator within the global wine industry in a short space of time and he looked forward to developing that further. “Passion, drive and a clear understanding of what the consumer wants, have delivered strong results for the business,” he said.

Schaafsma, who was named man of the year at the Drinks Business’ Awards in 2015, was appointed as the CEO of Accolade in September 2015, after three years heading up its UK and Irish division. During his leadership of the world’s fifth largest wine company, revenue exceed AUD$1billion, however he surprised the industry when he signaled his intent to step down from the Australian wine giant because its private equity owner Champ PE was planning to offload its 80% stake in the business through an initial public offering on the London Stock Exchange, a listing the Australian Stock Exchange or a trade sale. He stepped down in September and was replaced by Michael East, the former general manager of the company’s Australian and Asian business, although this was not immediately confirmed.

The company’s private equity owner later abandoned the IPO offer, with Brexit currency woes and the integration of the premium Oz company Lion’s fine wine portfolio being cited as one of the factors, prompting East to announce he would take early retirement as he had originally planned. Champ’s managing director Jim Anderson, a director of Accolade Wines for four years, was appointed to the top job.

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