The son of the founder of Evans & Tate has retired from the Australian wine company. Franklin Tate, who has led the company since 1994, when he took over from his father John Tate, confirmed today (13 August) that he is retiring from his position as director and brand and product ambassador.

He will remain the largest shareholder in Evans & Tate Ltd., and will continue to supply grapes through his Margaret River vineyards in the country.

"I am immensely proud of the contribution I have made to Evans & Tate over the past two decades and particularly proud of spearheading the relocation of Evans & Tate from the Swan Valley to Margaret River in 1997 and helping to successfully float the company in 1999," he said.

"Despite my departure from the board of Evans & Tate, I continue to own a significant shareholding in the company and will be delighted to watch its progress in the months and years to come.

"On a personal level, I will remain in Western Australia and fully involved in the Western Australian wine industry which, I believe, has a very strong future."

Franklin Tate was forced to step down from the position of CEO in 2005, as part of a financing deal with ANZ Bank. He continued to hold the position of chairman, however, with Martin Johnson moving from Kendall Jackson in California to become CEO.

Last month, Evans & Tate, which has struggled since the glut and drought of recent years in Australia, confirmed it had signed a restructure agreement after a protracted spate of offers. Under the agreed deal, ANZ bank, which is owed around A$100m (US$84.3m) by the company, will convert A$50m of its debt into 625m shares. Of these shares, just over 100m will be transferred to McWilliams Wines, with the balance held by ANZ and Pendulum Investor Group.

McWilliams will subsequently handle the global distribution of Evans & Tate's core wine brands, with E&T looking to raise around A$17.6m from a one-for-two share entitlement issue, open to all shareholders. Thereafter, McWilliams will invest A$10m into the company in return for 100m of the new shares.

The transaction is expected to complete by the end of October.