Julie Ryan

Retail Drinks CEO steps down

June 5, 2020
By Alana House

Retail Drinks Australia CEO Julie Ryan is stepping down from the role to pursue career goals in the commercial sector.

As the founding leader of the organisation, Ryan steered its transition from the Australian Liquor Stores Association in October 2018 to the new-look industry body of today.

She is cited as the leader who has created a “united voice” for the industry in its collaboration with state and federal governments and providing support service to members.

Michael Waters Retail Drinks

Michael Waters (above), the former Chief Operating Officer, takes over as acting Retail Drinks Australia CEO as of July 1, 2020 and will be provided with ongoing support by Ryan in a consulting capacity.

“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.

Retail Drinks noted that he is committed to enhancing the freedom for members to retail responsibly, while continuing to develop support services for members.

“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.”

Chairman John Carmody added: “Retail Drinks Australia has achieved everything we had planned and more under Julie’s leadership.

“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’s achievements as Retail Drinks Australia CEO have included:

• Advocating for retailers in the Northern Territory alcohol reforms.

• Launching the first-ever Online Alcohol Sale and Delivery Code of Conduct.

• Fighting for South Australian consumers’ right to enjoy the convenience and accessibility of online alcohol deliveries.

• Being recognised as a Federal Government Small Business ‘Digital Champion’.

• Achieving significant improvements to the requirements for NSW supermarkets to have separate liquor sales areas.

• Successfully advocating for the recognition of liquor retail as an essential service during the COVID-19 pandemic restrictions.

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