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New drinks chief

Former ambassador to head Scotch Whisky Association

Mark Kent: new SWA CEO

Former British ambassador Mark Kent will succeed Karen Betts as chief executive of the Scotch Whisky Association (SWA).

Mr Kent spent more than three decades with the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office.

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

Mr Kent, becomes the SWA’s ninth CEO, said: “As a former Ambassador, I know in what high regard the Scotch Whisky industry and the SWA is held worldwide.

“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. 

“The Scotch Whisky industry has a fantastic history, great stories to telland continues to innovate. I can’t wait to get started.”

Scott McCroskie, chairman 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.” 

Mr Kent will take up the position in January, succeeding Mrs Betts, who leaves the SWA in December to take over as chief executive at the Food and Drink Federation. 



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