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Saunders takes hot seat as WSTA chairman

Bibendum CEO Michael Saunders has been appointed chairman of the Wine and Spirit Trade Association (WSTA) following the departure of Dan Jago.

Michael Saunders has taken the helm at the WSTA as its chairman

Saunders first joined UK wine and spirits supplier Bibendum in 1982 and left the company in 2017. He then rejoined Bibendum as its CEO in 2018 following the group’s acquisition by C&C Group. Saunders is also chairman of drinks industry charity The Benevolent.

In his new role with the WSTA, Saunders’ “main priority” will be working to help UK wine and spirit trade continue to flow after Brexit. He will also “push hard” for “fairer” alcohol duties.

“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,” said Saunders.

“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.”

Jago hosted his last WSTA executive board meeting today (28 July), ending three years as chairman of the WSTA. Jago also stepped down as CEO of Berry Bros & Rudd at the start of this year.

Miles Beale, CEO of the WSTA, said: “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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