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Saunders wins chairman role at WSTA

Published:  28 June, 2019

Michael Saunders, chief executive of Bibendum PLB, has been appointed by the WSTA as its new chairman. He takes over from outgoing chairman, Dan Jago.

At a meeting confirming his appointment last Friday, Saunders identified his priority to be helping the wine and spirit trade through the challenges of the Brexit process and into the trading environment that will follow.

He also expressed his commitment to pushing for more industry support from the UK government and for the relaxation of the current punishingly high duty rates.

“Taking the helm as chairman of the WSTA is both an honour and a challenge,” Saunders said, “particularly as the wine and spirit trade is potentially facing some of the toughest trading landscape in its history.

“My focus is to ensure that the WSTA continues to meet these challenges head on and offers the best advice and support to guide its members - and government - through these unchartered waters.

“It is clear that, in this time of uncertainty, standing side-by-side with industry partners to show government, and the world, we are united in our aims is essential. The WSTA has not – and will not – shrink from this key task.”

Commenting on the appointment, Miles Beale, chief executive of the WSTA, said: “We warmly welcome Michael into the hot seat. It is incredibly important to us that the person at the WSTA helm has extensive experience in the wine and spirit trade. Through his work at Bibendum, involvement on the WSTA Board and his chairing of The Benevolent, Michael has all the credentials we need.

"I would like to take this opportunity to thank Dan Jago for being an extremely supportive chair whose combination of sound advice, direction and delegation has meant the WSTA has been encouraged to grow and move into new ventures.”

Saunders left Bibendum PLB in 2017 after 35 years with the company, following its acquisition by Conviviality. He returned last year after it was bought by C&C Group.

He is also chairman of drinks industry charity, The Benevolent.