The WSTA appoints Michael Saunders as chairman

The Wine & Spirit Trade Association (WSTA) has appointed Michael Saunders, the chief executive of Bibendum PLB, as its new chairman of the board.

The last person to hold the position of chairman was Dan Jago, who had a three-year term in the role.

Saunders, who is also chairman of drinks industry charity, The Benevolent, joined Bibendum in 1982. The company was bought by Conviviality in May 2016 and Saunders left the following year, returning as chief executive when Bibendum was bought by C&C Group in April 2018.

Saunders has already expressed his intention for the WSTA to push hard for more support from the UK government to ensure that wine and spirits get fairer treatment from Treasury and its high duty rates.

Michael Saunders, Chairman of the WSTA Board, said: “Taking the helm as Chairman of the WSTA is both an honour and a challenge, particularly as the wine and spirit trade is potentially facing some of the toughest trading landscape in its history. Dan Jago has been an excellent Chair who has steered the WSTA through choppy waters and he will be a tough act to follow.

“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.”

Chief Executive of the WSTA, Miles Beale, 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. We know that, like Dan, Michael has a great passion for the products which we represent and wants to help them prosper. Everyone at the WSTA looks forward to working with him during what will be a fascinating time of great change for the UK - and the world’s - wine and spirit industry.”

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