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Top people moves: May

Naked Wines appoints new head of US operations 

Online retailer Naked Wines has appointed Max Miller as its president of US business, and has announced 80 new roles within the company to help it respond to “soaring demand”.

Miller joins Naked from video on demand service Bluprint, and has seven years of experience in ecommerce and direct-to-consumer leadership under his belt.

Group CEO, Nick Devlin, said: “I am extremely pleased to welcome Max, albeit via video call, to the team, and we are working hard to fill new roles to help support the increase in demand.”

Naked, which also operates in the UK and Australia, said growing demand for home wine delivery has resulted in the need to boost its workforce. The 80 new roles have been concentrated in the customer service, data science, finance and growth-marketing divisions of the business, and are based in Napa, California and New York City.

New appointments have also been made by partners at fulfillment centres in California, Florida, Missouri and New York state.

Devlin added: “The introduction of social distancing has accelerated the shift in consumer behaviour towards buying online, leading to increased demand from both new and existing customers, and I believe this to be an inflection point for the growth rate of the online category going forward.”

Pernod Ricard UK appoints new commercial director

Pernod Ricard UK has promoted Ian Peart, its former business development director, to the role of commercial director within the company. Peart replaces Chris Ellis, who will be leaving the French drinks giant at the end of June.

Ellis has worked for Pernod Ricard UK for almost 16 years, having worked in four different roles while at the UK arm of the company.

Peart, meanwhile, joined Pernod Ricard UK in 2006 as field sales director, and has since held several roles in the commercial team, including field sales controller, business unit controller – grocery, and channel director – on-trade. For the past three years he has held the position of business development director, where he has been responsible for identifying, developing and accelerating growth opportunities for Pernod Ricard and its brands in the UK.

Commenting on the appointment, David Haworth, CEO of Pernod Ricard UK, said: “I am delighted for Ian, who has a wealth of industry experience, having worked in the UK drinks industry for over 28 years, the past 14 years at Pernod Ricard in a number of different roles within the business.

“Chris has been with Pernod Ricard for 16 very positive years in a variety of commercial roles and has decided the time is right to move on – Chris goes with our very best wishes for his next adventure,” Haworth added.

Jacques Lurton becomes president of family wine group

Jacques Lurton has been appointed as president of Bordeaux wine group Vignobles André Lurton by his five sisters and one brother, taking over the reins from his father, André Lurton, who died in May 2019.

Jacques began working for the family firm in 1985, after obtaining a degree in oenology from the University of Bordeaux and spending two years working at wineries in Australia. In 1989, together with his brother, François, Jacques launched a series of successful international wine projects in Argentina, Chile, Spain aand Portugal.

In the early 2000s, he established and developed his own estate – The Islander – on Kangaroo Island, in Australia. Jacques now has more than 100 harvests’ worth of experience, and has helped to plant vines in emerging regions including the Tunuyan Valley in Argentina, Lolo Valley in Chile and Kangaroo Island in Australia.

With his brother, he has enhanced the reputation of lesser known regions such as Rueda and Toro in Spain, and the Languedoc in France.

He will continue to oversee the technical division of Vignobles André Lurton, assisted by Anne Neuville, who has been the director of oenology since August 2019. Pascal Le Faucheur will continue as CEO of Vignobles André Lurton’s CEO, Christine Lurton-de-Caix remains ambassador for the Grands Crus division, and Joan Mourgues has recently been appointed commercial director.

Lay & Wheeler makes two new senior appointments

Fine wine merchant Lay & Wheeler has hired two people to take on senior roles in the company. Simon Staples (pictured) has been appointed the director of private clients, while Catherine Petrie MW has joined the buying team.

Staples joins Lay & Wheeler from Berry Bros. & Rudd, where he has spent the past 23 years. Staples, who was the former sales director of BBR, will now lead efforts to increase Lay & Wheeler’s international private client network. Lay & Wheeler believes Staples’ fine wine sales experience “will be a boon for clients”.

Petrie, meanwhile, will be responsible for buying for all of France, except Bordeaux, which will continue to be led by buyer Robbie Toothill. Petrie became a Master of Wine in 2017 and has extensive experience of working in European vineyards and wineries. She joins Lay & Wheeler from Goedhuis & Co., where she was also a buyer. She specialises in the Loire Valley and Burgundy, having worked for Domaine Armand in the Burgundian commune of Pommard.

Petrie will work alongside Toothill, who has enrolled as an MW student, and buying co-ordinator John Phillips, who will be taking responsibility for increasing the company’s American and Australian ranges.

Katy Keating, managing director at Lay & Wheeler, commented: “People are our most important resource, and we remain focused on building a best-in-class team. Simon and Catherine bring a wealth of knowledge, experience and passion. I’m thrilled they’re joining our Lay & Wheeler family.

“It is vital that both the love and deep interest our customers have for fine wine is reflected across the business. Bringing professionals like Simon, who built the fine wine department at BBR, and Catherine, who is a Master of Wine, on-board is a thrilling step forward for us – and for our clients and our producers.

“I am confident that we have all of the essential ingredients to take this hugely respected and historic business forward.”

Angus McPherson named managing director of Diageo Australia

Angus McPherson has been named the managing director of Diageo’s Australian division. McPherson was formerly the managing director of Treasury Wine Estates.

Reporting to greater China and Asia president, Sam Fischer, McPherson will lead drinks giant Diageo’s Australia and New Zealand business, including manufacturing, marketing and sales.

Commenting on his appointment, Fischer said: “I’m delighted to welcome Angus to Diageo. He has many years of international experience working in the beverage alcohol industry. He will bring deep sales and marketing experience and performance delivery discipline, and drive outstanding relationships with the team, customers and industry in this exciting market.

“In his last position at Treasury he had accountability for the largest business in North America and led the global sales function. He has developed diverse teams and grown talent, including succession from within his team.”

McPherson added: “I’m excited about joining Diageo, a company that globally is one of the best brand builders in our industry. I look forward to working with the team in Australia, building on the platform that David and the entire team have put in place over the past five years.

“These are challenging times for many of our customers, and I’m energised around working to find solutions to support the customers that are such great partners with Diageo.”

Current Diageo Australia MD David Smith is taking up a new role as managing director of Diageo southern Europe.

Mark Juggins joins Louis Latour Agencies

Mark Juggins is to join Louis Latour Agencies as its national account controller. He joins the company from Accolade Wines, where he held the position of senior national account manager looking after Tesco. He also spent nine years at Sainsbury’s as a senior buyer for the category of Champagne and sparkling wine.

Managing director of Louis Latour Agencies, Will Oatley commented: “This recruitment is in response to the growing importance of national accounts at Louis Latour Agencies. Mark will undoubtedly be a superb addition and will support our existing business in addition to working with other prospective multiple retailers.”

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