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Frazer Thompson steps down from Chapel Down

Published:  02 August, 2021

Chapel Down has announced its succession plan after it was revealed that current CEO Frazer Thompson will be stepping down from the role after 20 years.

He will be succeeded by Andrew Carter, current MD of Wales’ Chase Distillery.

“Frazer has decided to retire after 20 years of building Chapel Down into England’s biggest wine business and has helped put English wine on the map,” Martin Glenn, chairman of Chapel Down, said.

“It is difficult to overstate his impact and leadership. He leaves with the great gratitude of the Chapel Down board.”

The news comes just a month after the Kent-based business announced it has raised more than 90%, or £6.3m, of its recent funding goal in just over three weeks, with more than 3,600 investors joining so far.

The English winemaker launched its current crowdfunding campaign at the beginning of June with the aim of raising up to £7m to help it expand its vineyards in the North Downs and ramp up exports.

Thompson said it was the ideal time for the company to introduce some fresh energy and leadership to the business which is in “good shape” following 18 months of the Covid-19 pandemic in the UK.

“I am delighted that Andrew has joined us. He brings a wealth of drinks experience and has the talent and energy to lead a fantastic team to new heights. I love this business and brand and I will remain both as a substantial shareholder and advisor.

“It has been a remarkable journey and a privilege to have had the opportunity to change the way the world thinks about English wine. We have built a fantastic team and an exciting brand with great growth prospects,” he said.

Carter added: “I am delighted to be joining at such an exciting time. Chapel Down is the leading English winemaker and I look forward to further building the business and team to deliver the next stage of transformational company growth for our customers and shareholders. Frazer has been an extraordinary pioneer of the English winemaking industry and I will work closely with him and the Chapel Down management team to ensure a seamless transition.”