It was a surprise in the late summer when the news broke that Paul Schaafsma was to return to the wine industry in the chief executive role at Broadland Wineries. It is even more of a surprise that we find out today that he is leaving his post after only four months to start up his own sales and marketing wine business and taking two of his new Broadland recruits with him. Here’s the exclusive inside line…
They say a week is a long time in politics, well the wine trade, at times, can give it a run for its money with the news that Paul Schaafsma is leaving his plum Broadland Wineries role after only four months and taking two of his new former Accolade Wine recruits with him. Here he explains why.
Paul Schaafsma’s time at Broadland Wineries might have been short – around four months give or take a day – but it has certainly succeeded in re-launching himself back in to the cut and thrust of the UK wine industry.
When it was announced he was to become the new chief executive of Broadland Wineries, the specialist packing, bottling and brand building business, it also marked Schhafsma’s return to the front line of the wine industry after a year away following his departure from the chief executive role at Accolade Wines.
Even in his short time at Broadland he cut an ambitious path announcing plans to build up an even strong wine branded presence, with a particular focus on New World wines, and hiring former senior colleagues from Accolade Wines in the UK.
On paper it looked like a good move for both sides. In fact both Schaafsma and the former chief executive, Mark Lansley, who moved in to a chairman’s role, talked about the natural fit it was for both sides. Schaafsma said Lansley had “recognised he needed to bring in someone who can ensure the business was relevant right across the trade, can grow the profile and bring in the right brands…you think about the fit and it just made sense.”
Four months on and not only is Schaafsma leaving the business, but also Ian Anderson, who had only just joined as marketing director from his role as Accolade Wine’s general manager for strategic development, and Amy White, former marketing director at Accolade, who had just joined the company from maternity leave.
Starting up new business
All three are now set to go it alone and start their as yet unnamed own sales and marketing wine business which Schaafsma told The Buyer would look to develop and bring “blue chip brands” to the UK mainstream wine market.
He said it was far too early to say what those brands will be, but they were all set to start working with a “strong portfolio of brands immediately”, each with strong support and funding behind them that were capable of finding a home for themselves with “mainstream retailers”.
What he said was particularly encouraging was that “wine brands owners had shown a key interest” in what they are looking to do and are confident that they have the skills and ability to establish their brands in the UK. “This really fits my skills sets and that of my highly talented team,” he told The Buyer.
Clearly not all has gone to plan behind the scenes at Broadland during Schaafsma’s short time in charge, but he stressed now was the time to kick on and he was confident this new sales and marketing business not only “fits his skills set” but also the team he has quickly built around him.
He said he would be looking to recruit further leading names to the business shortly.
Onwards and upwards at Broadland Wineries
Schaafsma’s quick departure is also clearly not ideal for Broadland Wineries, but this is a business that has previously quietly gone about its business, supplying and working with major retailers and importers as well as building up its own branded wine portfolio, and will no doubt continue to do so in the future.
Lansley is to return to the chief executive role and said in a statement that its strategy remains very much the same. “We have enjoyed working with Paul during his four months at Broadland and we would like to thank him for his contribution. As he departs, it is important to say that Broadland’s strategy remains the same. We will continue our commitment to building our full portfolio of award-winning new and old world brands, to go alongside our BRC Grade AA+ private label offering. Accordingly, we will be adding a number of blue-chip brand builders to our team during the next few months,” he said.