Governance

The Society's full name is The International Exhibition Co-operative Wine Society Limited. It was founded in 1874 and from its inception has been a mutual organisation.  It is governed by its Rules which, amongst other things, dictate that 'The Society, in carrying out its objects and powers, shall have regard to co-operative principles'.  The Society is entirely owned by its members, each of whom holds one share.

The board of The Society is known as 'the Committee' and it consists of up to 13 members of The Society. Eight are elected by the membership; one is the Chief Executive, ex officio; and up to another four may be co-opted for limited periods by the eight elected members. The elected members appoint from their number the Chairman and Deputy Chairman of The Society (known as the Officers).

The Committee has responsibility to the members for the direction of the business, with day to day management in the hands of an executive team led by the Chief Executive.

The Executive Team takes the operational decisions and leads the staff in implementing the agreed goals and strategy.  It comprises the Chief Executive and the Heads of Buying, Finance, Operations, and Sales & Member Experience.

The Committee's role includes discussing and deciding long term strategy, establishing policy, monitoring risk exposure and performance, approving the Annual Accounts and major capital investment projects, and appointing the Chief Executive.  The Officers maintain regular contact with the Chief Executive and the individual expertise of each member of the Committee is also available to the Executive Team.

The Committee

Alan Black

Alan Black

I spent my career in an international law firm. The Society is the most wonderful institution; there is no better place from which to buy wines. Serving on the Committee is both a privilege and extremely enjoyable.

Steve Finlan

Steve Finlan

I have spent my career in retail and digital organisations. I am fortunate to have led all the major functions across a retail business and am passionate about joining together product, communications, experience and fulfilment. I am delighted to be the Chief Executive of The Wine Society and have real interest and enthusiasm across the spectrum of wine. If I had to choose, then it would be the wines of Tuscany, always an adventure and rarely disappointing.

Eleanor de Kanter

Eleanor de Kanter

My background is in strategy, digital marketing and communications. I now own a Digital Strategy agency which helps organisations embrace the digital world. I hope to use my experience to help The Society reach the next generation of wine lovers. I became a member in 2014 and love the opportunity to explore wines from around the world.

Ken Brown

Ken Brown

I have over 30 years experience in investment banking and accountancy, and board experience in e-commerce. I am passionate about the quality of wines our buyers select and the uniqueness of our proposition in the market, as a member-owned mutual, not driven by profit.

Paula Carter

Paula Carter

I have been an enthusiastic and active member of The Wine Society for 26 years, exploring wines from all around the world at tastings and by buying from the regular mailings. Now an elected member of the Committee, I bring expertise in digital channels, governance and engaging with young audiences.

Thomas Foster

Thomas Foster

My background is in building and running consumer businesses at BT and the RAC, experience which I hope will help The Society as it looks to acquire a new generation of members. I love wine for its great variety and I continue to learn and experiment; where better to do that than The Society, the best source of high-quality, great-value wines you can find.

Mike Thompson

Mike Thompson

As a classically trained marketeer I'm passionate about differentiation and the inherent strengths we have in our values as a mutual. I continue to learn about wine and I'm currently enthusing about the wines of Spain, and re-discovering the Rhône.

Ricard Giner-Sariola

Ricard Giner-Sariola

I have 20 years' experience of international marketing with an emphasis on digital, primarily in education. Digital is vital to The Society's future. Quality, value and mutuality are my favourite Society strengths. All good wine interests me, but I love Priorat, Rioja, Barolo, Rhône and Burgundy.

Tim Wright

Tim Wright

I have worked for over 35 years in retail and finance. My specialism is in human resources and I also have experience in corporate governance, pensions, finance, property and marketing. I have a longstanding love affair with the Roussillon area, its Catalan culture and, of course, its wines.

Mohammed Haque

Mohammed Haque

I have experience working predominantly with digital media businesses and am currently working as a CFO for an esports business. My passion for wine began during a period working in California, one of my favourite regions, along with Champagne and Australia. It is a privilege to combine my professional and personal passions in this role with the Wine Society.

Ben Dreyer

Ben Dreyer

I have more than 25 years' experience in international retail strategy and operations. My expertise is in the management of Operations, IT and Digital within a dynamic, mid-size company. I am a longstanding member of the Wine Society and am delighted to contribute beyond buying the excellent wines.

Co-option to the Committee

The route of co-option to the Committee is one which we believe is unique to The Society. Co-optees play an equal role with elected members on discussions and decisions about the business and its future direction. The exceptions are on voting rights, where co-optees do not take part in the co-option of other co-optees or the chairing of sub-committees.

Co-option provides us with the ability to bring a specific skill set onto the Committee when it might be of particular relevance – for example this year we have co-opted a member with extensive experience of digital strategy. Co-option is for a period of a year, though we frequently find that we ask co-optees to stay on for a further year or more where we have found their contribution to be especially valuable and where they continue to enjoy their involvement with The Society. A proportion go on to stand for election to the Committee when a vacancy arises.

Selection of co-optees is carried out by a sub-committee of the elected members of the Committee through a small number of group discussions and, on occasion, one-to-one meetings. Potential co-optees should have a level of experience which will be of benefit to The Society and have usually worked in a senior position. They should be supportive of mutuality and have an understanding and appreciation of the ethos of The Society. The ability to work in a group is also important.

Meetings of the Committee are held in London and Stevenage, usually on the third Wednesday of each month (with the exception of August) in the late afternoon/early evening. In September, November and May these meetings are for a half a day. In addition Committee members attend sub-committee meetings and some member events around the country.

Members of the Committee receive an honorarium dependent upon the number of meetings which they attend. Reasonable travel expenses are also reimbursed.

Being considered for co-option

If you are interested in being considered as a co-opted member of The Society's Committee in the next one to three years please e-mail tylerg@thewinesociety.com telling us a bit about yourself and attaching a CV.

 

Management of The Society

The Executive Team takes the operational decisions and leads the staff in implementing the agreed goals and strategy.  It comprises the Chief Executive, Director of Sales & Experience, Chief Operating Officer, Director of Wine, and Chief Financial Officer.

Steve Finlan

Steve Finlan

Chief Executive

Email
Liz Cerroti

Liz Cerroti

Director of Sales & Experience

Email
Karen Coates

Karen Coates

Chief Operating Officer

Email
Pierre Mansour

Pierre Mansour

Director of Wine

Email
Valentine Steadman

Valentine Steadman

Company Secretary & Legal Counsel

Email

More about The Society

About The Society

About The Wine Society

Integrity, authenticity and an insatiable curiosity to find the world's most thrilling wines…

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Albert Hall

Our heritage and history

Starting as a way to avoid a diplomatic incident in 1874, The Wine Society is now the world’s oldest wine-selling co-operative.

Learn more
Freddy Bulmer and Joanna Locke MW

Meet our buyers and growers

Meet our expert buying team and some of the talented winemakers they’ve uncovered from across the globe.

Learn more
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