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Accolade Wines appoints John Ratcliffe as CEO

Hardys winemaker Accolade Wines has ended its year-long search for a chief executive by opting for experience in appointing John Ratcliffe to the position.

John Ratcliffe, who is best-known for helping to create one of the brighter periods in a chequered history for the Oddbins wine retailer in the UK and was also MD of Oddbins owner Seagram in the UK, will take up his new post on 3 February next year. He will be based jointly in the UK and Australia.

Accolade, which is the largest wine company in the UK by some distance, has been without a chief executive since Troy Christensen departed the business one year ago.

The firm’s Australian owner, Champ Private Equity, has been using Ratcliffe as a ‘key adviser’ since it bought an 80% stake in the wine group from Constellation Brands in 2011.

‘Through his work with the board on key strategic intiatives it became increasingly apparent that John’s capabilities were an idea fit for leadership of the company,’ said Champ’s managing director, John Haddock, who is also Accolade project director.

Ratcliffe’s appointment follows the announcement that Steve Gorst will be Accolade’s chief financial and operating officer.

In September this year, fifth generation Hardys winemaker Bill Hardy announced that Champ would spent £10m to revitalise the brand.

Written by Chris Mercer

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