Retail Drinks Australia has today announced that Julie Ryan will be stepping down as CEO, effective 1 July.

Michael Waters, the former Chief Operating Officer will step in as Acting CEO and will be provided with ongoing support by Ryan in a consulting capacity.

Ryan joined the organisation in October 2018 and has been the driving force steering its transition from the Australian Liquor Stores Association (ALSA) to the new-look industry body of today.

With Ryan at the helm, Retail Drinks has had many notable achievements, including advocating for retailers in the Northern Territory alcohol reforms. They launched the first-ever Code of Conduct for Online Alcohol Sales and Deliveries.

They have fought for South Australian consumers’ right to online alcohol deliveries and have been recognised as a Federal Government Small Business ‘Digital Champion’.

They’ve also achieved significant improvements to the requirements for NSW supermarkets to have separate liquor sales areas; and were instrumental in advocating for the recognition of liquor retail as an essential service during the COVID-9 pandemic restrictions.

John Carmody, Chairman of Retail Drinks, applauded Ryan’s work, saying the organisation is now well-positioned to advocate for liquor retailers.

“Retail Drinks Australia has achieved everything we had planned and more under Julie’s leadership,” Carmody said.

“Her business acumen and energetic approach to advocacy has delivered significant value to the industry.

“Our members can be confident in the smooth transition of leadership as Michael and his team takes the reigns.”

Ryan recognised the significant journey of Retail Drinks and reaffirmed her commitment to supporting its success in the future.

“Together with my team we have delivered on the goal to create an industry- leading organisation and team committed to delivering real impact on behalf of our members,” Ryan said.

“As we are now a trusted advisor to government and an influential advocate for all liquor retailers, I leave the organisation in a strong position ready for Michael and our team to build on this foundation.

“I look forward to being part of the leadership transition before taking on my next challenge.”

Waters, whose previous roles include Executive Director and Company Secretary of Liquor Stores Association NSW & ACT, brings more than a decade of experience to the acting CEO role and a vision to build on the increased government and industry collaboration.

“I’m really proud to build on, and continue to shape, Retail Drinks Australia’s industry leadership,” Waters said.

“It’s important we continue to have a single, strong and united voice to enhance the rights of our members to retail responsibly.

“Retail Drinks Australia is dedicated to working collaboratively with government and support our stakeholders for the betterment of the industry.”

The team at Intermedia would like to wish Julie Ryan all the best with her future endeavours and to thank her for her support over the past two years.

Deborah Jackson

Deb joined Intermedia in 2015 as Editor of National Liquor News and Deputy Editor of The Shout. Since then, she has also worked as the Editor of Beer & Brewer and the New Zealand title, World of Wine....

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