The Court of Master Sommeliers Americas has appointed a new board of directors following a sexual harassment scandal in October brought to light by The New York Times.
According to The New York Times, among the new members of the board are: Emily Wines, Mia Van De Water, Kathryn Morgan, David Yoshida, Keith Goldston, Rob Bigelow and Christopher Bates.
Of the 11 new board members, three are women, two are Asian-American and two identify as gay. The requirements to be able to run for the board have been simplified to two years of membership.
For increased objectivity, four additional board seats have been set aside to be filled by people outside the CMS, while a CEO will be hired to lead day-to-day operations.
Sexual relationships between master sommeliers and the MS candidates they are mentoring are no longer permitted by the court’s new code of ethics. “This new board of directors understands that this is a pivotal point in the organisation’s history,” the CMS-A said in the press release.
“The beverage and hospitality community’s passionate engagement over the past few weeks has been necessary for confronting the truth of the CMS-A’s identity, and it also brings forth great optimism for what the organisation can now become,” it added.
Last month, Devon Broglie, chairman of the Court of Master Sommeliers Americas, stepped down from his role the same day The New York Times published a story in which a former student studying for the MS exam accused Broglie of having an inappropriate sexual relationship with her.
In early November, the Court of Master Sommeliers Americas suspended seven male Master Sommeliers accused of sexually harassing 21 women undertaking the Master Sommelier Diploma from all CMS activities.
The sommeliers suspended: Greg Harrington, Eric Entrikin, Robert Bath, Matt Stamp, Matthew Citriglia, Drew Hendricks and Fred Dame, are currently under investigation, while Geoff Kruth resigned from the court last month.
Since then, four more sommeliers have been suspended and are under investigation. Thus far none have been stripped of their MS titles.
Following the scandal, three female Master Sommeliers – Alpana Singh of Terra & Vine in Illinois, Corkbuzz founder Laura Fiorvanti and Racines partner Pascaline Lepeltier – suspended their membership to the CMS-A in protest.