The Wine & Spirit Education Trust (WSET) has appointed Michelle Brampton as its new CEO.
Brampton will join WSET on 1 February as CEO designate and will spend two months working alongside current CEO Ian Harris, who steps down on 15 April.
Bringing with her a wealth of experience, Brampton previously spent 19 years at Treasury Wine Estates (TWE), where she most recently held the role of MD Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) from 2018 to 2021.
Brampton was also on the boards of both The Drinks Trust and the Wine & Spirit Trade Association (WSTA).
In the early years of her tenure at TWE, she gained international and commercial leadership experience as commercial director UK & Ireland and as CFO, EMEA and South East Asia.
The WSET said it was ‘delighted’ that Brampton had accepted the invitation to lead the organisation in the coming years.
‘Michelle’s track record at TWE and, more recently her wider role in the drinks trade, make her the ideal successor to Ian, following his remarkable 20 years as CEO,’ said Simon McMurtrie, chair of the WSET board.
McMurtrie also took the opportunity to pay tribute to ‘Ian’s exceptional achievements’ on behalf of the global drinks trade and all the WSET Trustees, past and present.
’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,’ he said.
Harris meanwhile said he was ‘really pleased’ to be passing the WSET baton into Brampton’s ‘very capable hands’.
He 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.’
Alongside existing trustees, Simon McMurtrie (Chair), Dan Jago, Jo Locke and Allen Gibbons, WSET has also made four new appointments to its board.
Miles Beale, CEO, WSTA and Jo Thornton, MD, Moët Hennessy Europe join as representatives of the Vintners’ Company. Lulie Halstead, CEO, Wine Intelligence and Sukhinder Singh, MD, The Whisky Exchange join as representatives of the WSTA.
They all take their seats with immediate effect, taking over from Troy Christensen, Rick Connor, Susan McCraith and Michael Turner, who have come to the end of their terms as trustees.
Earlier this month, WSET announced it had received official approval from the Chinese government to resume its operation in mainland China following a year of suspended business activities at the end of January 2021.