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Chris Flaherty announced as new General Manager of Accolade Wines

Chris Flaherty announced as new General Manager of Accolade Wines

Congratulations to Chris Flaherty on becoming General Manager, Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific for Accolade Wines.

Accolade is Australia's second-largest wine company and owns brands including Hardys, Leasingham, Grant Burge and Banrock Station.

Flaherty will take over from current General Manager Rick Wilson. He will commence in the role on August 28. 

“We are very pleased to have Chris join the senior executive team and his leadership experience coupled with a deep knowledge of the market will be a great benefit to Accolade,” CEO Jim Anderson said. 

Flaherty told Drinks World: “I’m genuinely excited to be joining Accolade Wines at this time in its development. The Accolade portfolio is full of wonderful brands that are steeped in amazing wine heritage and a key part of the fabric of the wine category.

“It’s a great honour and privilege to be leading the Accolade ANZP team and in collaboration with our trading partners to create joint value in bringing our wines to Australian consumers.”

Flaherty has extensive experience in the Australian alcohol industry. He is the former CEO of ASM Liquor and has spent the past eighteen months working in advisory and board roles, including spending five months with Thirsty Camel bottleshops in Victoria.

Prior to ASM Liquor, Flaherty was Managing Director ANZ of Treasury Wine Estates for two years and before that Sales Director – Australia and New Zealand. Flaherty has also previously held roles at Diageo.

While at TWE, he told Smart Company he was a keen wine enthusiast, but leaves the winemaking to the “experts”.

Flaherty began his career as a part-time salesperson with British Paints while he finished his economics degree.

“I was out there selling fibreglass materials and industrial coatings," he recalls. "I hated it at the time. I thought I was degree-qualified, and here I am carrying around a bag. But it gave me an appreciation of how things actually get done, and the importance of our customers to what we’re trying to achieve.”

Big changes for Accolade in 2017

Accolade Wines appointed Rick Wilson as its General Manager, Australia & New Zealand in March. Wilson was previously the Managing Director of Advantage Australia. 

The move followed the promotion of Michael East to the role of CEO of Accolade.

East took up in August, 2016, after the sudden departure of Paul Schaafsma, who had been at the helm since October, 2015.

However, a little over a month later, East announced he was taking early retirement following the company's decision to withdraw from an IPO process.

His position was assumed by Accolade chairman Jim Anderson, who expanded his duties to become executive chairman.

Wilson resigned from his role after just under five months.