Rowan Gormley

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Rowan Gormley in a Majestic Wine store
Rowan Gormley
Born (1962-06-08) 8 June 1962 (age 56)
South Africa
OccupationGroup CEO of Majestic Wine PLC, Founder of
WebsiteRowan at

Rowan Gormley (born 8 June 1962) is a South African born entrepreneur. He was appointed Group CEO of Majestic Wine PLC after the acquisition of Naked Wines in April 2015. [1]

Early life[edit]

Gormley studied at Selborne College, East London and the University of Cape Town. He trained as an accountant with Arthur Andersen in South Africa for three years before moving to the United Kingdom in 1987 to work in venture capital for Electra Capital Partners.[2]


Gormley was in private equity for seven years before going to work for Richard Branson in 1994. Branson brought him to Virgin to identify new business opportunities.[3]

When he spotted financial services as a potential area for Virgin to explore, Branson asked Gormley to run it, and Virgin Direct (now Virgin Money) was born in 1995 with Gormley as CEO.

Whilst at Virgin Direct, Gormley was also behind the launch of The One Account, now a part of Royal Bank of Scotland.

After leaving Virgin Money, he launched three new start-ups. His first was Orgasmic Wines, with the help of his business partner Laura Knight and his brother Clinton Gormley. The firm became Virgin Wines in 2000 when Richard Branson bought into the business.[4]

Laithwaites subsequently bought Virgin Wines, and Gormley left the company in June 2008.[5]

Naked Wines[edit]

Gormley set up Naked Wines in December 2008 with eight of the old Virgin Wines team. Naked Wines was launched in the USA and Australia in 2012.[6] On 10 April 2015 Naked Wines was acquired by Majestic Wine and Gormley was appointed CEO of the enlarged group.[7]

Majestic Wine[edit]

Gormley announced his transformation plan for Majestic Wine in November 2015 and set the Group a new goal to achieve £500m annual sales by 2019.[8]


  1. ^ "Acquisition, CEO appointment and Trading Update - RNS - London Stock Exchange". Retrieved 2017-02-02.
  2. ^ Thackray, Rachelle (15 September 1999). "My Biggest Mistake: Oh Dell, why did I listen to them?". The Independent. Retrieved 2009-03-16.
  3. ^ Branson, Richard (1998). Losing My Virginity. Virgin Publishing. ISBN 1-85227-684-3.
  4. ^ "EDP Power 100, 2007". EDP. 19 June 2007. Archived from the original on 13 February 2009. Retrieved 2009-03-16.
  5. ^ "Virgin Wines founder "removed from post"". Harpers. 4 July 2008. Retrieved 2009-03-16.
  6. ^ "Buy wine online |". Retrieved 2017-02-02.
  7. ^ "Naked Wines founder appointed as CEO of enlarged Majestic". Majestic Wine. 10 April 2015. Retrieved 2015-04-10.
  8. ^ "Interim Results - RNS - London Stock Exchange". Retrieved 2017-02-02.