Industry hire

Whisky exec named Scotland Food & Drink CEO

iain Baxter
New CEO: Iain Baxter

Iain Baxter, a former senior executive in the whisky industry, is the new chief executive of industry leadership body, Scotland Food & Drink.

He has more than 15 years’ experience within Scotch whisky at Glenmorangie, Inver House,  International Beverage, and latterly Ian Macleod Distillers.

He will start on 31 October, with John Davidson – who is currently Deputy CEO and Strategy Director – acting as interim until then, following the departure of James Withers after 11 years with the organisation.

As well as his roles within the sector, Mr Baxter has held senior change management roles within housing associations and senior leadership in the rail industry. Between 2015 and 2018, he was Sales and Marketing Director at the Caledonian Sleeper. He has an MBA from the University of Dundee.

Lucinda Bruce-Gardyne, founder of Genius Foods and chair of Scotland Food & Drink, said: “Following a rigorous search process led by Carlyle, Iain stood out as the ideal candidate to take Scotland Food & Drink into the next chapter of the organisation. Iain’s experience leading change across industries will be invaluable as we face up to harsh macro-economic realities that face our and every other area of the economy. 

“In his whisky career, Iain championed Scotland’s national drink around the world, and will help us fulfil our ambition to promote Scotland globally as a land of food and drink.”

Mr Baxter said: “We will of course face domestic and global challenges; not least the economic and environmental headwinds, which cannot be underestimated.

“However, with the enviable strength of our national food and drink brand, rooted in the passion and commitment of everyone involved in the sector, I am confident that Scotland is well positioned for strong growth.”

With a membership of more than 400 businesses, Scotland Food & Drink regards itself as the voice of the £15bn industry.

Scotland Food & Drink is a unique partnership between industry, research organisations and government to create world-class support programmes, tackle emerging challenges and ensure the best environment for food and drink businesses of all sizes to flourish.

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