The Wine Society’s Chairman of 12 years, Sarah Evans, is retiring and Alan Black has been appointed as the new Chairman.

Steve Finlan, chief executive, said: “It has been a real pleasure working with Sarah since I joined The Society two years ago. She has brought a wealth of experience and insight, but more importantly a real passion for our Society, from vineyard to member, always making sure that we are creating the conditions for a fantastic member experience and ensuring that mutuality and the values of The Society are at the forefront of our discussions and decision making. Her passion for wine and ensuring that wine is always at the heart of what we do has been a real inspiration and The Society has continued to innovate and discover great wines for members to enjoy.

“How we work here at Stevenage and create a great employee experience for all our staff, particularly during the last year, has been a constant priority.”

Mike Thompson, committee member, said: “Sarah was co-opted to the Committee in 1998 and elected to it in 1999 – a time before The Wine Society had a website – and leaves us winning industry awards for online retailer of the year. All the core management statistics are similarly impressive. Sarah carried a torch for mutuality, which has burned brightly through these last 23 years.

“A Chairman with grip and a touch of imperiousness, Sarah’s forensic analysis, clear-sightedness and strong governance have all seen her through our challenges, not least this last Covid-19 period. Most of all, it is Sarah’s love of wine and her instinct continuously to explore and find new treasures which makes her one of us – a member of The Wine Society.”

Alan Black has been elected as the new Chairman of The Society. Black first joined the committee as a co-optee, in 2009. He brings great experience from a career in international law and a real excitement for all aspects of wine, believing wholeheartedly in the mutual model. He is equally passionate about the effective governance of The Society and the importance of placing members first in all that The Society does.

Eleanor de Kanter will work alongside Black as Deputy Chairman. She first joined the committee, as a co-optee, in 2018. She runs a digital strategy business and has experience in digital strategy, marketing and communications. 

Finlan concluded: “Sarah leaves us with The Society in terrific shape and able to embark on the next stage of our journey under the guidance of our new Chairman Alan Black.”