WSET names Michelle Brampton CEO as Ian Harris prepares to step down

The Wine & Spirit Education Trust (WSET) has appointed Michelle Brampton to the role of CEO.

 Brampton will join the WSET on February 1, working alongside current CEO Ian Harris, who will retire on April 15.  

Brampton previously spent 19 years at Treasury Wine Estates (TWE), where she most recently held the role of managing director Europe, Middle East and Africa from 2018 to 2021. Brampton was also on the boards of both The Drinks Trust and the Wine & Spirit Trade Association (WSTA).

 Chair of the WSET board, Simon McMurtrie, said: “Michelle’s track record at Treasury Wine Estates and, more recently her wider role in the drinks trade, make her the ideal successor to Ian, following his remarkable 20 years as CEO.

 “Under Ian’s leadership, the WSET has experienced spectacular growth. When Ian joined the business in 2002, 10,000 students were enrolled annually – two thirds of them from the UK. In the last academic year over 108,000 students in 70 countries around the world took one of the WSET’s nine qualifications, with 87% from outside the UK.  On behalf of the global drinks trade and all the WSET Trustees, past and present, I would like to pay tribute to Ian’s exceptional achievements.”

Harris said of his departure: “I have enjoyed every single day at WSET since I joined back in 2002. Thanks to the talented people in my team over the last two decades, we have overcome many challenges – particularly over the past two years. It has been my pleasure, and absolute privilege, to lead such a great organisation. I will remain WSET’s most passionate ambassador.”

 Alongside existing trustees - Simon McMurtrie, Dan Jago, Jo Locke and Allen Gibbons - the WSET has also made four new appointments to its board. Miles Beale, chief executive, WSTA and Jo Thornton, managing director, Moet Hennessy Europe join as representatives of the Vintners’ Company. Lulie Halstead, CEO, Wine Intelligence and Sukhinder Singh, managing director, The Whisky Exchange join as representatives of the WSTA. They all join with immediate effect and take over from Troy Christensen, Rick Connor, Susan McCraith and Michael Turner, who have come to the end of their terms as trustees.

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