Chris Yorke is to succeed Willi Klinger as managing director of the Austrian Wine Marketing Board (AWMB)
Yorke, who is British, studied business administration at the University of St Gallen in Switzerland and is a fluent German speaker. He has been global marketing director of New Zealand Winegrowers since 2004.
"I've always admired the Austrian wine industry for its quality wines,” said Yorke. “I know this beautiful country and I'm really looking forward to this task."
He was chosen from a field of 90 applicants.
"In Mr. Yorke, we have been able to gain a top international wine manager who has been primarily responsible for developing and promoting the worldwide marketing of New Zealand wine at the New Zealand Winegrowers umbrella organization for 15 years," said Gerhard Wohlmuth, Chairman of the Supervisory Board of the AWMB.
The popular Willi Klinger, managing director of the AWMB since 2007, announced last December that he was retiring at the end of 2019. Klinger, the organization’s sixth managing director, has led the ÖWM since 2007. He has had a relentless focus on raising the image of Austrian wine and raising its export value—in the past decade, the export value of Austria’s wines has risen to almost three times what it was a decade ago – even though volumes have declined. Under Klinger, the ÖWM has also focused on regionality.
Klinger has also publicly admired New Zealand's wine industry, often remarking that he had modelled his marketing strategy on it.
Yorke will work side-by-side with Klinger from October 2019, and then take over the role in 2020.
The Austrian Wine Marketing Board was founded in 1986.