Naked Wines sees yet another director depart


Naked Wines sees yet another director depart as Justin Apthorp steps down after two decades on group’s board

  • Non-executive director Justin Apthorp has stepped down with immediate effect
  • He spent 35 years at the group and 21 on the board
  • Apthorp’s departure is the latest in a string of bosses leaving the company 

Naked Wines has announced the departure of another director as the online wine retailer battles to revive its fortunes. 

The company told investors on Thursday that non-executive director Justin Apthorp has stepped down with immediate effect after 35 years at the group, including 21 on its board. 

Apthorp’s departure is the latest in a string of bosses and directors leaving the company after a challenging 2022, during which it warned of ‘material uncertainty’ over its ability to keep trading. 

Apthorp’s departure is the latest in a string of bosses and directors leaving the company

Its chief financial officer left over the summer, while another director, who also happened to be one of its largest investors, left in September after only three weeks in the job.

Their departures came as the company announced spending and staff cuts, and the replacement of its previous chairman in September, as part of an overhaul after seeing business slump in the past year.

It also brought back its founder Rowan Gormley as a board advisor ahead of the finalisation of a new commercial strategy. 

After seeing a surge of customers during the pandemic, Naked Wines spent big on advertising and building up its wine stock in anticipation of more sales growth, which never materialised. 

Naked Wine’s over-zealous expansion also left it battling with the terms of a loan, which could only be accessed if the company hit certain growth metrics. 

Commenting on Apthorp’s departure, chairman David Stead said: ‘I’d like to thank Justin for his dedicated service to the Company, initially as an executive at Majestic Wine, then through his non-executive role as we reshaped the group and delivered significant growth through the pandemic.

‘I wish him all the best for the future.’ 

Apthorp added: ‘It has been a privilege to watch this business develop from a UK-centric, store-based retailer to an international online group leading the US direct-to-consumer wine market. 

‘I have every confidence in the company to continue to deliver its market-leading proposition for the benefit of wine drinkers, winemakers, employees and shareholders worldwide.’

Naked Wines shares fell 0.9 per cent to 135p in afternoon trading on Thursday.  They have lost nearly 80 per cent of their value over the last year.

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