Monday 2 August 2021 3:22 pm

Chapel Down boss to step down after 20 years at helm

England’s biggest winemaker Chapel Down is preparing for a leadership shift as it announced today chief executive Frazer Thompson will retire next month.

Andrew Carter, currently managing director at Chase Distillery, a vodka and gin producer set up by the owner of Tyrrells crisps, will succeed Thompson on 13 September.

The designated CEO said he looks forward to leading Chapel Down to deliver the next stage of transformational growth.

Chapel Down chairman Martin Glenn said Carter has a great track record in building wines and spirits businesses, adding his joining can drive the company’s growth further.

Glenn also praised Thompson for “building Chapel Down into England’s biggest wine business and has helped put English wine on the map.”

Thompson, who will remain a substantial shareholder and advisor at Chapel Down after his retirement, said now is the ideal time for the company to introduce some fresh energy.

“He [Carter] brings a wealth of drinks experience and has the talent and energy to lead a fantastic team to new heights,” he said.

Chapel Down, which makes wine at its vineyards in Kent, announced in June to launch a new crowdfunding campaign in a bid to raise nearly £7m to help continue its growth.

The firm had seen its wine sales up over a third over the last year amid the lockdown, but this was not enough to stop it from falling to a £7.9m full-year loss.