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    Kingsland Drinks MD Ed Baker leaves role

    Ed Baker

    Greater Manchester-based wine and spirits firm Kingsland Drinks Group has announced the departure of its managing director, Ed Baker.

    Baker is set leave the full-service drinks company after more than a decade to take on a new leadership role outside of the drinks sector.

    Baker joined Kingsland Drinks in 2013 as finance director, and assumed his current role as MD in 2019. In his time as MD at Kingsland, he has overseen an incredible pipeline of investment in the company’s infrastructure and capabilities, securing its place as a full-service partner to the drinks industry for the long term.

    During his tenure, the firm said it has increased its focus on spirits and no and low alcohol creation and increased its capacity to pack wines and spirits in new and emerging formats including new carbonation, bottling, Bag in Box and canning lines.

    The company also reinstated its onsite winery and expanded its NPD capabilities with a new laboratory in recent years. In 2021, Baker helped transition the company into an employee-owned model, enabling its members to have a say in how the company is run.

    “The lifeblood and success of the drinks industry overall has been a personal crusade. It has been my pleasure to lead Kingsland Drinks and its members, while advocating for my peers alongside the WSTA. I’m leaving behind a talented, capable and energetic team positioned to win in the years ahead,” Baker commented.

    “What I’m most proud of is the heart of the company; our site in Irlam, Greater Manchester, is home to the most diverse and full-service offering in the drinks industry, with a ‘can do’ team that really is best in class.

    “Although I am leaving the drinks industry for a new chapter in my career, I do so confident that investment in our team, business model and strategic direction in recent years has created a strong and competitive business.”

    Andy Sagar, chairman of Kingsland Drinks Group, said: “Ed has been an integral part of our company since the day he joined as finance director. We’ll miss him greatly, but he leaves a strong business that has sustainable investment in people and capabilities that will continue to drive our business forward.

    “While it’s sad to see such a well-respected figure exit the industry, I am confident we have a strong leadership team, and immense capability across the entire business, aligned with excellent relationships with all our stakeholders. Our offering is well developed, and we are prepared and ready for our next steps and an exciting future ahead for Kingsland.”

    Kingsland Drinks is currently recruiting Baker’s successor, who will oversee the entire business.

    Baker’s departure follows a series of high-profile recruits in recent years including Andy Henderson as operations director, Mark Riley as commercial director and Simon Shelbourn as chief financial officer.

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