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Coterie Holdings appoints Michael Saunders as CEO

Published:  12 September, 2023

Coterie Holdings, the holding company for fine wine merchant Lay & Wheeler, bonded storage facility Coterie Vaults, and wine lending business Jera, has announced the appointment of Michael Saunders as its CEO.

Saunders will join Coterie on 1 January 2024, bringing with him a wealth of experience in the industry.

First joining Bibendum in 1983, Saunders departed thirty-three years later from his position as CEO, having played an integral role in growing Bibendum into the industry leader, leading to its sale in 2016.

Saunders spent the past five years with the C&C Group. In 2018 when C&C acquired Bibendum Wine, Saunders returned as Bibendum’s CEO, after a brief four months out of the business.

A well-known face to all in the wine trade, Saunders has chaired both the Wine & Spirits Trade Association and The Drinks Trust.

Sharing his rationale for joining Coterie, 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. 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.”

In his role as CEO, Saunders will lead each of the group’s businesses, including fine wine merchant Lay & Wheeler. Lay & Wheeler has been managed on an interim basis by its chair Erica Sugai, since June.