Majestic UK retail head takes over combined UK business as changes to buying team revealed

Majestic Wine UK retail boss Josh Lincoln will head up the combined Majestic and Naked UK operation as it prepares to restructure and rebrand the business as Naked Wines, and it confirms changes to its buying team.

Lincoln’s new role, which was first revealed by The Grocer, is UK MD of Majestic and Naked, with Naked MD Eamon Fitzgerald moving onto a role more focused on finding “new star winemakers”, the company confirmed to db, based in Ireland.

Lincoln joined Majestic Wine as customer director in January 2017, having spent eight years at Naked Wines, most recently in the role of global sales and service director. He was promoted to head up the retail business in January 2018, following the departure of former Screwfix boss, John Colley.

The company is also understood to have made changes to the buying team with the appointment of Nadia Williamson from Bibendum, who will work alongside buyers James Reed, Beth Pearce, Joe Aylmer and Imogen Bowen-Davies, and the departure of two senior buyers.

Head of buying Cat Lomax resigned from the company at the beginning of January, with her departure unrelated to the planned restructure, having accepted a new role which will start from 15 April. Lomax had joined Majestic from Waitrose in September 2016, taking over from Matt Pymm as head of buying across the Majestic Group.

Senior wine buyer Julie Buckley left the business last month, the company confirmed, having joined Majestic from Sainsbury’s in July 2017, where she was responsible for French, fine and fortified wines.

The departures follow that of trading director Richard Weaver. Weaver was temporarily replaced by transformation director Sarah Appleton, but a permanent replacement is likely to be announced in the coming weeks, a Majestic spokesman confirmed today. 

He also confirmed they would not be replacing the Head Buyer role, with the buying team reporting directly into the new Trading Director.

Meanwhile Appleton has now taken on the role of strategy and commercial board director, according to her LinkedIn profile. Appleton joined the wine retailer in 2017 as transformation director, having spend eight years at Sainsbury’s, most recently as transformation director. There she was responsible for leading the commercial strategy across the retailer’s £20 billion food business, having headed up Sainsbury’s supply chain operation for ambient, fresh and frozen. She joined the business as strategy manager in 2009, and later became planning manager.

Weaver worked at Majestic for 20 years, and was one of the only senior Majestic executives retained for the transformation of the retail division following the company’s merger with Naked Wines in 2015, according to his LinkedIn profile. He become buying and merchandising director responsible for the retailer’s £225 million buying budget, and later trading director in the company’s reorganisation in January 2018. He joined the company as a retail management trainee, and spent fifteen year working on Majestic’s ecommerce arm, first as a manager and later as ecommerce director.

The retailer has made a series of changes to its management and buying teams since it was acquired by Naked Wines in April 2015. Former Screwfix boss Josh Colley was appointed to lead the UK retail division, but left within two years to be nearer his family, with CEO Rowan Gormley taking on the role temporarily, supported by Weaver and the then operations director Rob Farnsworth, both of whom have since left. Lincoln was subsequently appointed to head up the UK retail division in January 2018.

The company is in the process of restructuring to refocus on the Naked Wine brand, as it prepares to divest of the Majestic Wine retail operation, and is set to reveal further details, including the the extend of store sales and job losses in June.

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