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SWA chief leaves to back Boris

David Frost, chief executive of the Scotch Whisky Association, has announced he is leaving the organisation to begin a new role as adviser to foreign secretary Boris Johnson.

Frost will leave the Scotch Whisky Association on 4 November

Frost will leave the trade body on 4 November to join the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO), where he will advise the former London mayor.

“I have thoroughly enjoyed my time as chief executive and I want to thank SWA members and my team for their support,” Frost said.

“Scotch whisky is a wonderful industry to represent, vital to Scotland and to Britain, operating on a global scale, and held in affection by so many around the world. I leave the Association and the industry well-placed to continue to succeed in a competitive marketplace during a time of change, including Brexit.”

Johnson led the charge for the UK to leave the European Union earlier this year as a ‘Vote Leave’ campaigner.

Frost, however, fronted the SWA’s campaign against the Brexit vote, claiming the UK’s membership in the EU is “central to Scotch whisky’s success”.

Frost replaced Gavin Hewitt as SWA chief executive back in January 2014. Prior to this he was a career diplomat, and held various senior roles in the FCO.

SWA chair Pierre Pringuet, vice-president of Pernod Ricard, said: “David has successfully modernised the Association during a challenging time for the industry both economically and politically. We have very much valued his leadership and I am confident he leaves the SWA in a good position to face the future.”

SWA deputy chief executive, Julie Hesketh-Laird, will be acting CEO for the interim period until a new CEO is appointed.

Hesketh-Laird joined the SWA in 2005 as director of operational and technical affairs, and was awarded the title of deputy chief executive in December 2014.

Hesketh-Laird said: “We are sorry to see David leaving the SWA, but wish him well in his exciting future role. I look forward to leading the Association for this transitional period and believe we have a great team to deal with whatever challenges face us.”

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