Scotch Whisky Association names new chief executive

The Scotch Whisky Association (SWA) has announced that Mark Kent, former British ambassador to Argentina, will succeed Karen Betts as chief executive.

He joins the SWA following more than three decades with the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office.

Most recently, Kent served as ambassador to Argentina from 2016 to June 2021. He also served as the ambassador to Thailand, Vietnam, and at British Embassies in Mexico City, Brasilia and the UK Representation to the European Union.

Kent said: “After a challenging period, I’m looking forward to helping the industry to unleash its full potential and enable people across the globe to discover and enjoy our premium and iconic product.”

Scott McCroskie, chair of the SWA Council, added: “Mark brings with him an outstanding depth of experience which will allow the SWA to continue to support the industry’s interests around the world.

“We look forward to working with him as the industry looks to make new ground in key growth markets and build a sustainable future for the industry by continuing our push towards net zero.”

He will take up the position in January, replacing Betts, who leaves in December to take over as chief executive at the Food and Drink Federation.

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