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WineGB chief executive Simon Thorpe MW joins Thorman Hunt as MD

Specialist importer Thorman Hunt has confirmed the hire of Simon Thorpe MW as managing director, following WineGB’s announcement earlier this week that its chief executive will be stepping down in May.

WineGB chief executive Simon Thorpe joins Thorman Hunt as MD

The current WineGB chief executive joined the organisation in 2020, and will remain at the helm until 31 May.

WineGB released a statement on Monday announcing the news, in which Thorpe said: “I am lucky enough to have been the CEO of WineGB through such an exciting and dynamic time in UK wine and am confident I leave a team and organisation that can deliver on our three-pillar strategy of Industry Leadership, Growth, and Member Support.”

The UK’s wine trade body noted that Thorpe, who passed his Master of Wine exams in 1997, planned to return to his roots as an importer and distributor.

Specialist importer Thorman Hunt has now announced it will be bringing Thorpe on in June as managing director. The family-run business was first established in 1978, sourcing premium wines to restaurants, hotels and trade professionals in London and the UK.

The company praised Thorpe’s “wide-ranging experience of the UK wine trade”, embracing “top-end retailing, buying, major brand representation as well as sales to wholesale and on-trade customers” in a press release announcing the new hire.

Thorpe will join the business alongside Samuel Bisson, who joins the team next week as operations manager. Bisson was born in Normandy and raised in Paris, and has previously held roles as wine buyer at Wholefoods and most recently as head of operations at OW Loeb.

Thorman Hunt’s new non-executive Chairman Alun Griffiths MW, who was recently welcomed into the fold, and formerly worked as director of wine at Berry Bros and Rudd, was instrumental in Thorpe and Bisson’s recruitment, the company has said.

WineGB told the drinks business on Monday that the organisation is in the process of finding a replacement chief executive, with no one yet chosen to take up the role.

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