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WSET appoints new CEO

The Wine & Spirit Education Trust (WSET) has brought on Michelle Brampton to serve as its new chief executive, and has appointed four new board members.

Michelle Brampton worked at Treasury Wine Estates for 19 years

Brampton is a 19-year veteran of Treasury Wine Estates, most recently leading the business as its managing director for Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA), a post she held from 2018 to 2021.

Previously, she worked for the wine company as commerical director, UK and Ireland, and chief financial officer, EMEA and Southeast Asia.

Brampton has also served on the boards of charity The Drinks Trust and industry body the Wine & Spirit Trade Association (WSTA).

“I am thrilled and honoured to be asked to lead such a globally renowned and respected organisation as the WSET,” commented Brampton.

“I am passionate about the drinks trade and believe that education is a true enabler for success for both individuals and businesses. I am looking forward to getting to know the team and leading the organisation through its next chapter.”

She will join WSET on 1 February, working alongside the organisation’s current CEO Ian Harris until his term ends on 15 April.

“I am really pleased to be passing the WSET baton into Michelle’s very capable hands,” Harris said. “With the breadth and depth of her experience, she will lead the organisation into a new era of business growth, navigating WSET through today’s increasingly challenging global landscape.

“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.”

According to Simon McMurtrie, chair of the WSET board, Harris helped the organisation grow from an annual enrolment of 10,000 students, two thirds of them in the UK, to more than 108,000 students in 70 countries, with 87% outside the UK. During the 2020/21 academic year, WSET registered double-digit growth in enrolment.

“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,” McMurtrie said.

In addition, WSET has appointed four new trustees to its board: Miles Beale, chief executive of the WSTA, and Jo Thornton, managing director, Moët Hennessy Europe join as representatives of the Vintners’ Company, while Lulie Halstead, CEO, Wine Intelligence, and Sukhinder Singh, managing director of The Whisky Exchange join as WSTA representatives. They have taken the reins from former members Troy Christensen, Rick Connor, Susan McCraith and Michael Turner.

WSET’s new trustees, l-r: Lulie Halstead, Jo Thornton, Miles Beale and Sukhinder Singh

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