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Betts leaves SWA to join Food and Drink Federation

Karen Betts SWA

Karen Betts: ‘time of change’ (pic: Terry Murden)

Karen Betts is leaving her post as chief executive of the Scotch Whisky Association, to take up the same role at the Food & Drink Federation.

Mrs Betts, who has led the SWA since 2017, is a lawyer by background and spent two decades in the Foreign Office and Diplomatic Service, latterly as HM Ambassador to Morocco.

She will succeed Ian Wright, who steps down at the end of 2021 after seven years in the role.

Announcing the appointment, FDF President Jon Woods said: “Karen Betts has an outstanding track record of achievement representing both our country, and one of our most important and valuable industries.

“This is a time of unprecedented change and opportunity for the food and drink industry. As we emerge from the challenges of Brexit and Covid-19, Karen will bring great understanding of, and experience in, working closely with Governments and some of the world’s biggest consumer goods companies.

“She has spent the last four years speaking for an industry with deep provenance and a range of businesses of all sizes determined that they, too, should be heard.

“In the last seven years, FDF has entrenched its position as the leading representative organisation for food and drink manufacturing.

“Membership has grown five-fold to almost a thousand companies. FDF’s unique mix of advisory services and advocacy, and the unparalleled expertise of its staff, offer a great platform for further dynamic growth. We are confident that Karen is the person to lead the FDF into an exciting and successful future.”

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Mrs Betts, who succeeded David (now Lord) Frost at the SWA, said: “These are rapidly changing times, with challenges and opportunities for the industry to grasp in everything from addressing climate change, to skills and livelihoods, and healthy diets.”

Before joining the FCO, Mrs Betts worked as a lawyer for Clifford Chance in London and Hong Kong. She studied law at the College of Law in Guildford and history at St. Andrews University.

She is an adviser to the UK Government’s Board of Trade, the chairman of the CBI’s International Trade and Investment Council, a member of the Scottish Government’s Trade Board and a Trustee of Raleigh International.

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