The board of directors of the Wine and Spirit Trade Association (WSTA) has appointed Mark Riley of Edrington UK as its new chair.
He will be supported by Pierpaolo Petrassi MW from Waitrose & Partners, in the newly created role of deputy chair, WSTA added.
The pair – who have 64 years’ worth of experience in the drinks trade between them – succeed Michael Saunders, the CEO of Bibendum Wines, in the role.
Saunders served as chair for a three-year term and has been a member of the WSTA board for 10 years. He was also chair of the Drinks Trust trade charity.
Chief executive of the WSTA, Miles Beale, commented, "I would like to take this opportunity to thank Michael Saunders for being an extremely dedicated chair, whose combination of sound advice, direction and dogged determination to boost recruitment has meant the WSTA has been encouraged to grow and move into new ventures.
On the appointment of Riley and Petrassi, Beale welcomed the two "titans of the wine and spirit trade" to WSTA and stated, "We are incredibly lucky to have such experienced people at the WSTA helm giving the WSTA more access and insight across the industry at a time when we need it most.
"The combination of producer and retailer, spirits and wine, brings to the board the perfect cocktail of credentials that we need to help the trade recover, rebuild and robustly take on the challenges ahead."
Riley and Petrassi have extensive experience in the wine and spirit trade and are stepping in at a time when the industry is focused on recovery and rejuvenation amid a turbulent time.
Riley has been a part of the premium spirits industry for 25 years and has led Edrington UK through significant growth and accelerated change as its managing director.
Before joining Edrington UK, he held various senior sales and customer marketing roles within Beam Inc and Diageo.
Pierpaolo Petrassi MW brings almost 40 years’ worth of experience in the wine and spirit industry and is currently the head of trading at Waitrose & Partners.
He became Master of Wine in 2007 and has been consistently placed top five in trade magazine polls for most influential people in wine.
Previously, he has worked in Carnevale Group, International Wine Services, Waverley TBS (2003-2007) and Tesco.
Role And Responsibilities
As the new chair and deputy chair of WSTA, Riley and Petrassi will continue Saunders’s recruitment drive to ensure that the WSTA has a diverse membership representing a strong, united voice within the trade.
As well as keeping a close eye on the traditional categories, the new team will also encourage more work in the low- and no- sector, mixing of categories, and step up efforts to guide the sector towards achieving environmental goals based on net-zero targets.
Mark Riley, chairman of the WSTA Board, said, "It is clear the industry faces significant challenges, and my primary focus will be to ensure that the WSTA meets these head-on, as it always has done, capably guiding both its members and the government through an ever-changing trading landscape. It is vital the industry continues to speak with one voice, and we embrace changes that need to be made in areas such as sustainability, diversity and inclusion."
Pierpaolo Petrassi, deputy chair of the WSTA Board, added, "I am delighted to take on the new role as deputy chair and support Mark as he takes the helm. These have been some of the most tumultuous times in our industry, but with challenge comes innovation, fresh ideas and progress and I'm looking forward to seeing what's in store for the coming months."