In Brief

BRC chief opts for retirement

British Retail Consortium chief executive

Kevin Hawkins has announced he will retire at the end of the year. Hawkins, a former director of communications at Safeway, has led the organisation since April 2004. BRC chairman

Sir Geoff Mulcahy, said: "We intend to appoint a similarly high -calibre successor to this important job representing the retail industry in the UK and EU."

WSET plans graduation

The number of people taking Wine & Spirit Education Trust exams passed the 20,000 mark for the first time in the 2006/7 academic year. The WSET said the annual intake had more than doubled since the start of the century and this year's figure represented year-on-year growth of 16 per cent. Next year's Awards of Excellence event is replaced by a fully-fledged graduation ceremony for Diploma students on Jan 21, at London's Guildhall.

Staff changes at Mentzendorff

Simon Gotelee has joined Mentzendorff as commercial manager for fortified wines, with responsibility for Taylor s, Fonseca, Croft and Delaforce ports, Hidalgo-La Gitana sherry and Henriques & Henriques Madeira. He was prev iously brand manager for Quinta do Noval port, Canard-Duch êne Champagne and French wine agencies at Paragon Vintners, and has also worked for Southcorp Europe and Lay & Wheeler.

New wine buyer for Waverley

Waverley TBS has added winemaker Jeneve Williams (left) to its wine buying team. Williams worked for Montana in her native New Zealand for four years and has done vintages in France, Australia and California. Her role at Waverley will be to manage winemaking projects in France, Spain and Italy, plus buying German wine.

Zapponi's new Mission

California winery Mission Hill has appointed Daniel Zapponi as president, a role overseeing sales, marketing, viticulture and winemaking. He joins from Foster's Wine Estates where he was senior vice president working on Californian brands such as Beringer, Ch âteau St Jean and Stag s' Leap.

Myliko gets carbon conscious

Myliko Wines has axed overland shipments of wine from Hungary in a bid to reduce carbon emissions. The deal with freight forwarder JF Hillebrand includes rail shipment from wineries to Hungarian ports

and sea transport to the UK. Myliko director Nish Kotecha said: "Next we are intending to look at how the waterways can be used to distribute wine to our retail partners across the UK."