Mentzendorff's shareholders - Societe Jacques Bollinger and The Fladgate Partnership - have confirmed senior management change following the decision of Bill Page to step down as managing director and hand over executive responsibilities in March 2004.

Page will be appointed Chairman on 1st March and will work part time for the business. He will remain based at the company's central London HQ.

Andrew Hawes - currently deputy managing director - will then take over as managing director. Hawes, who is 39, became sales director in 2000 having joined Mentzendorff in 1996 from Champagne de Venoge - and worked for Matthew Clark for eight years before that.  He has had 19 years experience in the wine and spirit trade.

Justin Liddle, currently general sales manager, will become sales director on 1st January; he is 32 and joined Mentzendorff in 1998 after experience with Oddbins, Yapp Brothers and Michael Morgan Ltd.

Page said: "This was a tough decision as I have been hugely happy at Mentzendorff but I told the shareholders in Autumn 2002 that I would stick to my original plan to do things differently when I reach a rather large birthday in March 2004! We have a super young team here who have achieved great things in re-positioning this business and I know that Andrew and Justin - and their fellow executive directors Andy Smith (Finance) and Simon Leschallas (Trade Relations) - will continue to build on recent success".

Hawes said: "Having re-focused our strategy for 2002 we have been able to build from a very solid base in 2003 and have had another successful year.  We have also strengthened our sales and marketing teams and are well positioned for the challenges of 2004 and beyond".