Ian was born and raised in New York City, and attended Duke University, graduating with a BA in History and Mandarin Chinese. Ian relocated to China in 1995 to take up a career in the drinks business, with Seagram, marketing Martell Cognac, Chivas Regal Scotch, and Absolut Vodka. In 1999 Ian co-founded Summergate, a drinks importer, marketer, and distributor, with a mission to build the market in China over the coming decades. Today Summergate is a leading drinks company in China by any measure – size, reputation, quality, knowledge, and professionalism. In addition Ian founded Pudao Wines retail in 2009 in Shanghai and Beijing, an award-winning fine wine retailer and experience center.
Ian’s career has focused on successfully building a strong China market for major brands like Concha y Toro, Penfolds, Villa Maria, Lafite, and Perrier mineral water. He has presented on China at conferences in Hong Kong, Shanghai, Beijing, London, Sydney, and New York, and for over twenty years has been working closely with leading drinks brands building their markets across China.
In late 2014 Ian successfully sold the Summergate business to Woolworths of Australia, and continued to manage the business for Woolworths through 2016. He recently founded Lightkeeper Studio, a firm that partners with entrepreneurs across Asia, providing advice, guidance, funding and connections, and helps take exciting and innovative businesses to the next level.