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Michael Saunders named Coterie Holdings CEO

Wine business holding company Coterie Holdings has announced the appointment of drinks industry veteran Michael Saunders as its CEO.

Joining Bibendum in 1983, Saunders left 33 years later as CEO, only to rejoin in 2018 when C&C acquired the drinks suppliers. In 2019, he was named as the chairman of the Wine & Spirit Trade Association (WSTA). He also served as chairman of industry charity The Benevolent, which was renamed as The Drinks Trust in 2020.

In August of this year, it was announced that Saunders had resigned from his role as C&C Group’s head of agency partnerships.

It was announced this morning (12 September) that Saunders will join Coterie Holdings as CEO from 1 January 2024.

As well as being the holding company for fine wine merchant Lay & Wheeler, Coterie Holdings is the the same for bonded storage facility Coterie Vaults and wine lending business Jera. It is chaired by former Berry bros. & Rudd CFO Chris Robinson.

Commenting on his appointment to the CEO role, Saunders said: “Coterie’s strategic plan for growth and development is incredibly compelling. Whilst it was a wrench to leave Bibendum after all these years, I am excited to be joining a group which has the vision, ambition, and wherewithal to drive positive and energetic change.”

“I look forward to leading Coterie to become a key player in our industry,” he continued. “I already see so many opportunities for the group, underpinned by Coterie’s passion for doing business with great integrity and purpose, and with a determined focus on customer engagement and service.”

“I am incredibly proud of what has been achieved by Bibendum, and for me, one of the greatest rewards is the number of talented people I have worked with over the years. Bibendum alumni are
spread far and wide within our industry – and it gives me enormous pleasure to see how so many have flourished,” Saunders concluded.

In his position, Saunders will lead each of Coterie Holdings’ business, including Lay & Wheeler, which has been under the interim management of chair Erica Sugai since June after managing director Katy Keating stood down after seven years at the business.

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