The Wardens

The Upper Warden, Jonathan Driver

Jonathan is managing director for private clients at William Grant & Sons. He has a degree in Japanese History from the London School of Oriental & African Studies (SOAS), and studied in Japan before starting his career at Mappin & Webb and Garrard & Co. In 1989, he joined the marketing team at United Distillers where he helped launch the Classic Malts, develop Johnnie Walker Blue Label and The Classic Kentucky Bourbon Company. Upon the creation of Diageo in 1997, Jonathan was appointed global malt whisky director, with a focus on premiumisation. He took on the role of integration director for the acquisition of Bushmills in 2005. Over the following decade, Jonathan worked as a luxury consultant (including the launch of King George V and Diamond Jubilee special edition sales for Johnnie Walker), became a non-executive director of Compass Box Whisky and vice president of the Sake Education Council, before joining Whyte & Mackay in 2014 as rare whisky director. Jonathan joined the Livery in 1999, chaired the Industry Committee from 2013 to 2016 and is a trustee of the Wine & Spirits Education Trust. Jonathan – a keen fisherman, cook and gardener – is married to Fiona, who works at a school in Putney. They live in London and have a son, Alexander, and daughter, Georgina


The Middle Warden, Chris Porter

Chris as a Director of Porter & Laker Ltd from 1987-1991, the shipping and forwarding specialists to the wine trade. Following the acquisition of the family firm by Ferry Freighting Ltd in 1991 and a subsequent merger in 2005, he became a Director of the newly formed merged company J F Hillebrand UK Ltd, who are global beverage logistics providers. Chris has been involved with The Benevolent, the Drinks Industry Charity for over 20 years, became a Trustee in 2010 and held the two-year post as its Chairman in 2013 and 2014; in January 2018, he was appointed CEO. Chris was previously President of the Wine Trade Sports Club and Chairman of the Wine & Spirit Trade Club, and has been a Liveryman since 2000. A lover of fine wines and spirits, real ales, and terrible jokes, Chris plays regular golf at Tandridge Golf Club and is a life-long supporter of Crystal Palace FC.


The Renter Warden, Chris Searle

After achieving a Chemistry degree at Kings College London, and discovering the delights of marketing, in 1977 I joined International Distillers and Vintners as a brand manager, which was to span a 37-year career in the drinks marketing industry. An ambition to be a Marketing Director was realised in 1982 when I joined United Rum Merchant’s, a branded agency business that became part of Allied Domecq . In 1986,  a chance encounter with some delightful Italians resulted in being appointed as UK Marketing Director of Martini and Rossi. Following the subsequent takeover by Bacardi and acquisition of Teltscher Brothers Limited, (now William Grant & Sons UK), I was appointed Managing Director and with it, the opportunity of attracting a number of famous brands into the business creating First Drinks Brands which I co-chaired for 10 years. Roles in Europe and then Global followed a 28-year period working for Bacardi. Highlights were many and included the responsibility for Martini Racing WRC  the setting up of Bacardi’s CSR programme and reporting and the creation of Champions Drink Responsibly.

I have been fortunate to have been involved in a number of different industry positions including Chairman of the Benevolent Society (1997), Chairman of Wine and Spirits Trade Association (1999-2001), Chairman of the Portman Group (2006), Vice President of spiritsEurope (2003-2004) and Vice President of Incorporated Society of British Advertisers. I am married to Sue and have 2 children, Samantha and Alexander.

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