Accolade Wines has announced a major reshuffle of its top brass as the comapny bids to refocus on Europe.

The business has split the existing role of European commercial general manager in two, with Continental Europe now being run separately from the UK and Ireland.

James Lousada, who held the combined role, was invited to take on the UK & Ireland brief, but has decided to quit the business.

The role will now be taken by Paul Schaafsma, who is currently UK & Ireland general manager of Australian Vintage.

The Continental role will be taken by Ted Popov, formerly sales director for mainland Europe.

The two markets operated at different levels of maturity, said Accolade chief executive Troy Christensen. Creating two new roles would allow the company to act with greater pace and flexibility at a challenging time for the wine industry.

“There is significant scope within mainland Europe to grow our business – especially in Eastern Europe and across Scandinavia,” he said.

“We are sorry to see James leave the business, as he has done an excellent job. However, creating focus on these two parts of the business is vital for Accolade moving forward,” he added.

At the end of July, Accolade struck a reciprocal bottling agreement with Treasury Wine Estates that will see it undertake all of TWE’s bottling in the UK. In return, Accolade’s products in Australia will be packaged at TWE’s Wolf Blass Winery in Nuriootpa.

The agreement follows the closure of Accolade’s Reynella packaging plant near Adelaide, with the loss of 175 jobs.