We ask industry leaders five questions about their working life. This month we talk to Robert Foye from Accolade Wines. This article was first published in Food & Drink Business April 2021.
1. Tell us about your current role.
I am the global CEO of Accolade Wines, one of the largest and oldest wine companies in the world. Starting in 1836 with the Houghton brand in Western Australia and the first grapes treaded at Hardys winery in 1853, we have become a world-leading provider of luxury, premium, mainstream and commercial wines.
We have over 1400 employees, several processing and bottling plants and we market and sell over 70 brands of wine globally.
Our portfolio is made up of distinguished wine brands including Hardys, Grant Burge, St Hallett and Banrock Station to modern wine brands shaking up the global landscape including House of Arras, Jam Shed, De Luca (Italian), Mud House (New Zealand), and Anakena (Chilean).
I am responsible, with our team of employees, for all aspects of sourcing, producing, marketing, selling, and distributing our brands globally.
2. What has been your greatest achievement to date?
Building one of the best teams in the wine and alcohol industry globally in a very short period of time (one year). Our team is made up of world-class wine, alcohol and FMCG capabilities and people, across our regions and functions.
We pride ourselves on knowing the industry incredibly well, being customer and consumer centric, moving faster than our competitors, and not being afraid of taking risks or failing. We are building a culture of optimistic discontent. We are very optimistic and collaborative about the future, but we know we can always achieve more and do better.
3. What was your biggest mistake and what did you learn?
My biggest mistake in the past was not realising that a successful business is about people and continuous improvement, not achieving success with single projects or a specific point in time.
When you build the right team and culture, you drive continuous innovation and improvement, and you learn as you go from your failures. The results are exponential.
4. What would you tell your 25-year-old self?
Enjoy every day of the journey because it goes by way too fast.
5. What is one goal you want to achieve?
I want Accolade Wines to be the best place to work in the global wine and alcohol industry.
We have seen incredible growth over the last 12 months and we continue to have strong growth ambitions around the world.
This makes Accolade one of the most exciting places to work at the moment. We are consistently working on new product developments, sustainability initiatives, and creative in-store and online executions to deliver our amazing wine brands to our customer partners and the end consumer.