UK: WSA restructures under major overhaul

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The UK's Wine and Spirit Association (WSA) has announced a restructure following recommendations made by a Working Group set up in November. The restructure will aim in particular to address the needs of the wine industry, the fastest growing element of its membership.

The Working Group concluded that the WSA should continue to represent the wine and spirit trade as a whole, but that, despite the improvements that have taken place in recent years, its ability to support the growing wine trade had been significantly inhibited by its outdated organisational structure and governance.

The role of director will be replaced by a new expanded role of director general with greatly increased responsibility for direction, strategy, finance and operations. The top management roles and committees are to be streamlined and, in many cases, eliminated.

The positions of president, deputy chairman and treasurer are to be phased out, as are several senior sub committees (such as the excise strategy group and social issues group).

The executive committee is to be transformed into a new executive board with full authority and responsibility for policy. The specialist (e.g. freight forwarders and distance selling) and shippers committees will be unaffected by the restructure at the present time.

The council's role will also be modified. There will be fewer meetings and a greater emphasis on member consultation and general oversight of the Association's affairs. A newly formed 'nominations committee' will ensure that all key sectors of the trade are fully represented in the new governing bodies and any elections that result.

The new chairman, to be appointed in June, will have a more strategic role and should be a leading figure in the wine trade, a statement said. A new Executive Board will be nominated at the Council meeting to be held on 9th March.
The Association's chairman, Joanna Delaforce, who commissioned the group's report, said: "I welcome the conclusions of the Working Group.  These changes are dramatic but necessary, in order for the WSA to continue to be the most respected trade association in the wine and spirit sector.

"This new lean organisation will ensure rapid and effective responses to the trade's needs for support, information and consultation. Its excellent staff team will welcome the increased authority that they will have, and the greatly simplified management system."

The working group chairman Barry Sutton said: "We were asked 13 weeks ago to recommend how the WSA should react to a fast changing set of circumstances. What we have proposed today is a set of radical changes that will do the job. We look forward to a very successful future for the Association."

Sectors: Spirits, Wine

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