By Jim Boyce | One of China’s most intriguing wine retailers saw change at the top this past month. CHEERS founder and key investor Claudia Masueger has moved from day-to-day operations to focus on strategic planning, including possible expansion beyond China, and to serve as brand ambassador.
Maseuger started B2B wine distributor MQ in China in 2008 but saw her fortunes change after fire wiped out the company warehouse. The four-month wait for new stock inspired a shift to a consumer focus in 2011 and the launch of CHEERS. The growing chain has some 60 shops, mostly in Beijing, with Switzerland’s Movenpick becoming a strategic investor in 2016.
Taking over as CEO is Cyrill Eltschinger, who has a long history in IT. He is former CEO of Softtek China and founder of IT United, and did a long stint with Electronic Data Systems. (Here’s hoping he can get the CHEERS website working.) Eltschinger is also a founding member of the Swiss Chinese Chamber of Commerce. He plays the alpenhorn.
The executive team continues to include CFO Stefan Schuppisser, commercial director David Schaumann and chief wine consultant Angqian Niu, while COO Alice Chiu, who previously worked in China with brands like Starbucks, Haagen-Dazs and Langham Hotels, left last month to take a VP position at Reed Exhibitions.