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24th August 2023

Portman Group bids fond farewell to Nicola Bates, announces new Director of External Affairs

The Portman Group today bids a fond farewell to Nicola Bates, who after five years as Director of Strategy and External Affairs has been appointed as the new Chief Executive of WineGB – the trade association for English and Welsh Wine and will leave the Portman Group in October.

Commenting, Portman Group Chief Executive Matt Lambert said: “Nicola has been a pivotal part of the team over the last five years, shaping the Portman Group’s voice as the UK alcohol marketing regulator and torchbearer of the industry’s ongoing commitment to social responsibility.

Her hard work alongside the team has also enhanced our support to members, helping the Portman Group grow to its highest number of members ever.  She has made major contributions to the Portman Group’s strategy and external affairs including during the most challenging time during the pandemic.  Whilst we are sad to say goodbye to Nicola, we are pleased to see that WineGB has gained an outstanding new Chief Executive who will be a strong advocate for English and Welsh wine producers.”

The Portman Group is also pleased to announce that David Saer, the current Head of Policy and Public Affairs, will become the group’s new Director of External Affairs in October 2023.

Joining in 2019, David has led the Portman Group’s thought leadership on alcohol policy and engagement with policymakers across the UK. This includes commissioning the group’s annual survey of consumer attitudes to alcohol alternatives with YouGov and representing the group at the Scottish Alcohol Industry Partnership, Retail of Alcohol Standards Group and International Alliance for Responsible Drinking. Prior to joining the Portman Group, he spent seven years in political and regulatory affairs consultancy, working for clients from a diverse range of sectors including food and consumer goods, aerospace ana biopharmaceuticals.

Commenting, Matt Lambert said: “For the past four and a half years, David has been instrumental in leading the Portman Group’s policy, research and public affairs – bolstering our standing with policymakers and industry across the UK. I look forward to seeing David bring this extensive experience to leading the external affairs team, as the Portman Group continues to champion and challenge the alcohol industry to uphold the highest standards of responsibility.”


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Notes to editors

  1. The Portman Group was formed in 1989. It is the alcohol industry regulator and social responsibility body. It has over 160 Code signatories from producers, retailers and membership bodies.
  2. The Portman Group is funded by 19 member and associate member companies: Asahi UK Ltd; Aston Manor Cider; Bacardi; Beam Suntory; Brown-Forman; Budweiser Brewing Group UK&I; Campari; C&C; Diageo GB; Edrington UK; Heineken UK; Mark Anthony Brands International; Mast-Jäegermeister UK; Molson Coors Beverage Company; Pernod Ricard UK; Punch Pubs & Co; SHS Drinks; Thatchers’; and Treasury Wine Estates.
  3. The Code of Practice for the Naming, Packaging and Promotion of Alcoholic Drinks was first published in 1996. In 2021, we celebrated the 25th anniversary of the Code. The Code seeks to ensure that alcohol is promoted in a socially responsible way, only to those aged 18 and over, and in a way that does not appeal particularly to those who are vulnerable. The Code has helped create an industry that works effectively within the context of a self-regulatory model, while encouraging design, innovation and creativity. This has been done in an effective, responsive and inexpensive way.
  • Effectively – over 170 products have been amended or removed from the market. Many hundreds more have been helped to adhere to the Code before appearing on shelves through the support of the Advisory Service;
  • Responsively – there have been five updates to the Code over 25 years responding to changes in public attitudes and expanding its reach; all without recourse to Government or Parliamentary time;
  • Inexpensively – the leading members of the industry are currently funding the model for all to be protected at no cost to the public purse.

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