Michael Waters takes the helm at Retail Drinks Australia

30 June, 2020 by Deborah Jackson

Last month saw Retail Drinks’ founding CEO Julie Ryan announce that she would be stepping down from the role as of 30 June. Michael Waters, the former Chief Operating Officer takes over the helm as Acting CEO, effective 1 July.

“It goes without saying that Julie has done an absolutely tremendous job, leaving the organisation in a strong position. I am grateful for the opportunity to lead Retail Drinks and look forward to continuing to build on and shape Retail Drinks’ industry leadership,” says Waters.

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“I have been incredibly fortunate to have been with this organisation in its various capacities for over 11 years and remain deeply passionate about the industry.”

Prior to the national merger and formation of Retail Drinks in late 2018, Waters held the position of Executive Director and Company Secretary for the Liquor Stores Association NSW and ACT. He was a member of the strategic and structural review team that led to the creation of Retail Drinks, and since its inception, has played a key role in the company’s evolution in his capacity as Chief Operating Officer.

“The past 12 months have been significant and unprecedented, and Retail Drinks has demonstrated that our role has never been more important to the retail liquor industry, with a number of key accomplishments that achieve our vision of enhancing the freedom to retail responsibly.

“In recent months we successfully advocated for liquor retail to be deemed an ‘essential service’ during lockdown restrictions, as well as secured over $5 million in annual liquor licence fee waivers to support packaged liquor retailers through the COVID-19 pandemic.

“In addition to our advocacy achievements, we’ve developed and launched a number of new key services and benefits for liquor store members designed to help them run their businesses more efficiently and effectively.

“It’s important we continue to have a single, strong and united voice and as a trusted advisor, Retail Drinks is dedicated to working collaboratively with both industry and government to facilitate and support our stakeholders for the betterment of the industry.”