TWO new directors will play a key role in harnessing growth opportunities at famous Basingstoke firm Berry Bros & Rudd.

The 314-year-old vintner to The Queen, based in Hamilton Close, Houndmills, has appointed an eighth-generation family member, Geordie Willis, 32, as the firm’s brand director.

Meanwhile, Kirsten Kilby, the former head of marketing from international luxury watch brand TAG Heuer, has joined Berry’s as marketing director, for the group’s wine businesses.

Both senior roles have been newly created in line with the growth of the business.

Geordie has spent the last four years as business development manager for Berry’s in Hong Kong where he helped to grow the business in the territory.

Prior to his time in Asia, he spent two years as cellar manager for the company’s flagship store in London before leaving the business for three years to play a key role creating and building the reputation of a UK marketing agency.

Geordie, who is a nephew of the wine merchant’s chairman, Simon Berry, said: “As an eighth generation family member, it is extremely exciting to be working on the Berry Bros & Rudd brand.

“Berry Bros is an enduring family business – we benefit from having a sense of the passing of time.

“It is this sense of continuity and progress that enables us to embrace the many paradoxes that make it different and valuable.

“After two decades of considerable expansion we understand, now more than ever, the importance of having a cohesive brand.

“This is one of the first opportunities in over 300 years that we have had to look holistically at the entire spectrum of our offering, from print and publishing to retail and e-commerce.”

Kirsten said she was delighted to have joined Berry Bros, having in the past worked in global roles in Aquascutum, Nicole Farhi and Paul Smith.

She said: “There are a great many exciting opportunities ahead. Similar to the experience I had at Aquascutum is the opportunity to work on a brand with a vast and rich history – a brand which is wanting to stay very much at the forefront of all marketing techniques.

“Berry’s has kept in touch with its past, but also with a distinct nod to the future and the fresh challenges this will bring.”

News of the new appointments follows on from the departure of Berry’s wine buying director, Alun Griffiths MW (Master of Wine), who worked for the company for almost 19 years.

Alun has been replaced by Mark Pardoe MW who has been with the company for 11 years.

Mark ran his own wine business for many years before selling to Berry’s in 2001.

He joined the company as commercial director and headed the new and subsequently highly successful department of BB&R Wholesale in 2006.

He said: “It’s a great privilege to take on this role and receive the baton from Alun, who has done so much for Berry’s over the years.

“My aim is to build further on his achievements, both domestically and internationally, and work closely with our great team of buyers to ensure that Berry’s stays at the forefront of the creative sourcing of high-quality wines and communicating those qualities to our customers.”