Corks Out founder Ruth Yates to step down as chief executive

Corks Out founder Ruth Yates will step down from her role as chief executive at the Cheshire-based retail chain in September.

She plans to concentrate on charity work and consultancy projects while the business embarks on a “restructuring phase with new investment in the business”.

Yates said she will retain her shareholding in Corks Out and continue to be a director of the business.

She said: “I would like to say thank you to the wine press, my suppliers and my colleagues. I have always had huge support from you all, and thank you wholeheartedly for the accolades, the fabulous products, the hard work and encouragement I’ve received over the last 15 years.”

Yates founded Corks Out with her husband Richard in 2003 after spending 10 years in the trade, first as a buyer at Whitbread and then at Greenall’s.

They built it up into a five-strong regional chain that has scooped a number of awards, including Independent Wine Retailer of the Year and Independent Champagne Retailer of the Year at our Drinks Retailing Awards.

It has emerged as a passionate champion of grower Champagne and Australian wine, while successfully implementing an off-trade / on-trade hybrid model.

Yates insisted that it remains business as usual for Corks Out’s suppliers, but that she and Richard “have both chosen this moment to step back and pursue different professional and personal opportunities”.

She told DRN that she has no plans to launch another retail store, but that she intends to remain in the drinks industry.

She intends to undergo new consultancy projects, where she will advise clients on how to manage the pitfalls of the UK retail climate and find the tenacity required to make a business succeed and stand out from the crowd, drawing on her 25 years’ experience in the trade.

Her charity projects include The UK Onside Youth Zones and Children’s Mentoring Programme.

Marketing director Hayley Staunton has also left the business and she is seeking marketing roles within the drinks industry.

Frederick Wood was appointed general manager at Corks Out in July 2013, according to Companies House, and his son Richard Wood is listed as a director along with Ruth and Richard Yates. Details have not yet been released about the new management structure at the business.

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