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.
I spent my career in an international law firm, living in London, Paris and Hong Kong. The Society is the most wonderful institution and there is no better place from which to buy wines. Serving on the Committee is a privilege and becoming Chair has been an honour.
I have been a retailer for nearly 40 years in the physical and online space with experience across the globe. It has been a privilege to lead The Society through the first stages of becoming a modern, digital brand; but also a Society continuing to build on our values and traditions, maintaining and growing our relationships with winemakers and placing great wine and great service at the heart of everything we do for our members.
Eleanor de Kanter
My background is in digital innovation for consumers. I started my career at Deloitte and have spent the past ten years working in and with tech start-ups. I’m passionate about bringing The Society to new audiences who share our values.
I have more than 30 years’ experience in investment banking and accountancy, as well as board experience in e-commerce. I am passionate about the range and quality of wines our buyers select and the unique services we offer as a member-owned mutual.
I have more than 20 years’ experience of working in international education marketing, with a strong background in digital. Quality, value and mutuality are my favourite Society strengths, and I love all good wine, especially Priorat, Rioja, Piedmont, Rhône and Burgundy.
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 long-standing member of The Society and am delighted to contribute beyond buying the excellent wines.
I work with digital media businesses as a CFO. My current role is working with a business focused on sustainability and net zero. 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 Society.
I’m a passionate brand builder and commercial leader with over 20 years experience in retail and omnichannel businesses from beauty, diamond jewellery, wine and furniture. I discovered wine on my year long honeymoon and fell in love with the wines of New Zealand – Central Otago pinot noir remains a strong favourite. The Wine Society is a truly unique institution – for bringing exceptional wines to its members, but also it’s long term support of wine makers and growers, and it’s a privilege to be part of the committee.
I work in consumer retail organisations with expertise in commercial strategy, product development and marketing. I believe that The Society is unique and that the strength of its mutual values is intrinsic to its past and future success. It is the best source of high-quality, great-value wines you can find.
My international 30-year career in Retail has been founded on exceptional customer service, developing products and services which are outstanding and distinctive, and nurturing long-lasting partnerships with suppliers and industry experts. These same principles have made The Society an extraordinary organisation for its members for almost 150 years. It is a huge privilege and a pleasure to serve on the Committee.
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 email@example.com telling us a bit about yourself and attaching a CV.
Management of The Society
The Executive Team takes the operational decisions & leads the staff in implementing the agreed goals & strategy.
Chief Financial OfficerEmail
Chief Operating OfficerEmail
Director of WineEmail
Director of Service & ExperienceEmail
Director of Sales & MarketingEmail
Dom De Ville
Director of Sustainability & Social ImpactEmail
More about The Society
About The Wine Society
Integrity, authenticity and an insatiable curiosity to find the world's most thrilling wines…Learn more
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
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