Chris Yorke: New Managing Director Austrian Wine Marketing Board

Change in the leadership team of the Austrian Wine Marketing Board: Following Wilhelm Klinger’s announcement last December to gradually step back from his duties as Managing Director, his successor has been elected after a thorough selection process. Chris Yorke will take over the leadership of AWMB in 2020.

Chris Yorke will take over as Managing Director AWMB on 1.1.2020 © New Zealand Wine
Chris Yorke will take over as Managing Director AWMB on 1.1.2020 © New Zealand Wine

Willi Klinger to continue his duties until the end of the year

Willi Klinger has been leading the Austrian Wine Marketing Board since 2007. His clear focus on quality has seen the international reputation of Austrian wine grow significantly, resulting in record export numbers.


Chris Yorke elected as successor

Following a thorough multi-stage selection process involving more than 90 applicants, the supervisory board is pleased to announce that Chris Yorke is the new Managing Director of the Austrian Wine Marketing Board, taking over from Willi Klinger in January 2020. He will start his induction phase in October 2019.


Details and CV:

Chris Yorke

Born: 1965, United Kingdom



BSc., Business & German, Aston University, England, 1989

3 semesters Business, University of St. Gallen (HSG), Switzerland, 1985


Career History 

Since 2004: Global Marketing Director, New Zealand Winegrowers, Auckland, New Zealand


2002-2004: Marketing Director American Express NZ, Auckland, New Zealand

1999-2002: Managing Director Sony Card Europe, London, England


1997–1999: Change Manager Sony Europe, Cologne, Germany

1994–1997: Strategic Human Resources Manager Roche Pharma, Welwyn Garden City, England

1992–1994: Corporate Planning Manager Sony Europe, Cologne, Germany

1989–1992: Country Manager Middle East and Southern Asia, ICI Agrochemicals, Surrey, England



English, German and Swiss German


Gerhard Wohlmuth, President Supervisory Board AWMB:

“We have brought on board a leading international wine manager, who has for the past 15 years, as Marketing Director of New Zealand Winegrowers, been instrumental in developing and promoting New Zealand wines internationally.“

Johannes Schmuckenschlager, Viticulture President:

“I am overwhelmed by the number of applications for this position. It demonstrates the strong reputation of Austrian wine. We are very pleased to have secured a new managing director who is experienced in exports, from a leading premium wine country – New Zealand. We look forward to having Chris Yorke strongly support and promote export interests of Austrian winemakers”

Chris Yorke:

I have always admired the Austrian wine industry for its high-quality wines, which are sustainably produced from a beautiful country with friendly people. The Austrian Wine Marketing Board has a strong reputation for excellent initiatives in Austria and overseas and I look forward to joining the team, meeting the grape growers and winemakers and contributing to this exciting growth phase for Austrian wine.“


Future Managing Director of AWMB elected

  • Willi Klinger to continue his duties until 31.12.2019
  • Multi-stage selection process from more than 90 applicants
  • Supervisory board elected Chris Yorke as successor
    • Since 2004: Global Marketing Director, New Zealand Winegrowers
    • Induction phase from October 2019
    • Starting as Managing Director on 1.1.2020

Press release

Austrian Wine Marketing Board

Ms Sabine Bauer-Wolf
Head of Communications

Mr Georg Schullian
Teamleader Press, PR & Corporate Design

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