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Wine-Searcher CEO quits claiming ‘I never wanted the job’

Published:  26 April, 2018

The founder of online drinks database Wine-Searcher has stepped down as boss of the business claiming: “I never really wanted to be CEO in the first place.”

Martin Brown will be replaced by incoming CEO Julian Perry, founder of tech company Limitless Internet Solutions.

Since Wine-Searcher began in 1999, its workforce has grown to 65. The database now lists 8.6 million products from more than 90,000 outlets across the world and has 5 million users.

“I never really wanted to be CEO in the first place,” said Brown, a former e commerce manager for Berry Bros & Rudd.

“I come from an IT background, the functional end of the business, and have never enjoyed being out in front. I’m looking forward to stepping back. I’d like a new set of concerns. I’m not sure what those concerns are going to be, but I’m looking forward to some new ones.”

Brown claims to have not drawn a salary from the business for its first seven years. He says Wine-Searcher has grown organically, without venture capital investment, to become ‘the Google of wine.’

The tool allows users to choose wines before directing them to retailers for the final sale. It also recommends products based on previous activity and includes an encyclopaedia of wine and daily wine news.

The business’s revenues are derived from a combination of charging users to upgrade to a pro version of its newly redesigned app, advertising and merchants paying to boost their listings through sponsorship deals.

A key focus for Perry as he takes over the reins will be the website’s wine recommendation service, which can make suggestions based on a wide range of criteria, including price, geographic location, top critics’ reviews and user preferences.

“We’re providing tools that help all types of users from the expert to the enthusiast,” said Perry. “We’re here to help the industry sell more wine, spirits and beer. We don’t take a percentage of the sale. We’re here to drive traffic to retailers and producers who sell online.”