Our people

Leadership team

Chief Executive Officer (CEO): Michelle Brampton

Michelle became WSET’s CEO in April 2022. She is the driving force behind the organisation’s strategy and purpose which is “empowering people through inspiring learning experiences all over the world”.

Michelle is passionate about growing WSET’s values-led culture and business where trust, integrity, inspiration, empowerment, dynamism and inclusivity underpin all its activities and interactions, especially with its people, course providers and students.

Michelle regularly features in the top ten of the 100 Most Influential People in Drinks and has over 20 years’ experience working in the wider drinks industry. Prior to joining WSET, she spent 19 years at Treasury Wine Estates, where she was MD Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) from 2018 to 2021. She was also on the boards of both The Drinks Trust and the Wine & Spirit Trade Association (WSTA).

Chief Financial Officer: Ian Pogue

Chief Information Officer: Tony Cook

Chief People and Culture Officer: Wendy Harpur

Chief Academic Programmes Officer: Johanna Anderson

Executive Director, WSET Americas & APAC: Dave Rudman DipWSET

Business Development Director EMEA: Rachel Webster DipWSET

Operations Director: Nicola Merchant

Marketing Director: Carolyn d’Aguilar DipWSET

WSET School Principal: Richard Harding

Honorary President

Honorary President: Dr Laura Catena

Announced during our annual graduation ceremony on 19 April 2023, Dr Laura Catena has been selected to be WSET’s new Honorary President for her commitment and passion for education in the drinks industry.

Well-known as the ‘face of Argentine wine’ and named the Drinks Business’ 2022 Woman of the Year, she is currently Managing Director of Bodega Catena Zapata.

Dr Laura Catena. WSET Honorary President


The original founders of WSET represented the cornerstones of the UK wine and spirits trade, and representatives from each of these organisations continue to serve on our Board of Trustees.

Simon McMurtrie is currently serving as Chair of the Board of Trustees.

The Wine and Spirit Trade Association (WSTA)

The WSTA represents companies covering all sectors of wine and spirits in the United Kingdom including production, import, export, transport and sales.

WSTA members range from major retailers, brand owners and wholesalers to fine wine and spirit specialists, logistics and bottling companies.

The WSTA provides market data, industry information and updates to its members, as well as providing opportunities to influence UK government policy through committees, networking groups and events.

WSTA representatives:

  • Lulie Halstead
  • Dan Jago
  • Sukhinder Singh

Worshipful Company of Distillers

The Worshipful Company of Distillers was founded in 1638 when its founder, Sir Theodore de Mayerne, physician to Charles 1st, obtained a Royal Charter to regulate the distilling trade in the Cities of London, and the City of Westminster and within 21 miles thereof (later extended to 31 miles).

Now they aim to:

  • To raise awareness within the UK industry
  • To be the pre-eminent leader in spirits education
  • To raise their profile both within the City and with other Livery Companies
  • To support charitable causes
  • To foster fellowship within the Livery

Members enjoy networking events throughout the year, with opportunities to connect with peers and mentors.

Worshipful Company of Distillers representative:

  • Georgie Bell

Vintners' Company

The Vintners’ Company, with its first charter in 1363 is one of the Twelve Great Livery Companies of the City of London.

The Company devotes a proportion of its resources to furthering wine education in the UK as well as donating sizeable sums to a number of London-based charities, especially those concerned with alcohol abuse.

Vintners' Company representatives:

  • Simon McMurtrie (Chairman of the Board of Trustees)
  • Miles Beale
  • Jo Thornton

Institute of Masters of Wine

The Institute of Masters of Wine (IMW) was founded by the Vintners’ Company and the Wine and Spirit Trade Association. They recognised that they needed to improve the standard of wine education in the British wine trade and create a formal certification for the most talented and knowledgeable members of the trade. The first examinations were held in 1953 and the Institute was formed in 1955 by the members who passed this inaugural exam.

Completing the Master of Wine program is now widely seen as one of the highest achievements in the wine trade and has grown from a qualification for the UK trade to encompassing members from 30 countries, for whom the institute organises events and trips.

Institute of Masters of Wine representative:

  • Jo Locke MW