Wine Australia reassures trade and starts search for new head

17 September, 2010

The hunt for a new director at Wine Australia began this week, following the resignation of its UK regional director Lisa McGovern.

She took up the post in April 2009, following a long search by the Australian Wine & Brandy Corporation which has appointed recruitment consultants in the UK and Australia to find a replacement before the end of the year.

As an interim measure, John McDonnell, regional manager for Ireland, will support the London office for two days a week. Wine Australia’s general manager for market development, Paul Henry, intends to visit the UK in October to oversee the recruitment process.

Henry told OLN he was seeking candidates with “in-depth knowledge of the Australian wine community, clear understanding of the UK market opportunity and challenge, and strong existing relationships in relevant market channels”.

He added that communication skills and strategic thinking would also be “highly prized”.

Responding to concerns from retailers and suppliers that Australia’s position in the UK market could suffer as a result of McGovern’s sudden departure, Henry stressed the generic’s activity would not be affected.

“Strategies will always evolve, but not as a result of any one individual’s departure,” he said. “I am confident that while this is an unfortunate set of circumstances, it is short term and does not put at risk any existing plans or future possibilities. Until a full-time replacement is found, we will not be actively pursuing additional opportunities, but remain committed to, and positive about, our existing commitments.”?Peter Jackson, managing director of Foster’s wine division, Treasury Wine Estates EMEA, said: “We are sorry to see Lisa McGovern’s departure and wish her all the best in the future.

“We believe there is still the necessity for a generic body to be championing the Australian wine category in the UK, but it is essential that the body achieves stand-out for its members and brands in what is one of the most competitive markets in the world.”

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