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SWA hires international director

The Scotch Whisky Association (SWA) has appointed former diplomat Ian McKendrick to the role of international director.

Ian McKendrick joins the SWA as international director

In his new position, McKendrick will lead the SWA team as it focuses on boosting Scotch whisky’s global exports and on improving market access for member companies, covering customs requirements, definitions of whisky, taxation and labelling.

Prior to joining the SWA, McKendrick worked for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, where he has held a variety of posts in London and overseas.

Most recently, he was lead negotiator for international agreements in the Middle East and North Africa. He also spent four year with the Directorate General for Trade at the European Commission as a seconded national expert on China.

“I’m delighted that Ian is joining our team,” said SWA chief executive Karen Betts.

“He is very experienced in global trade issues and in working in overseas markets, and he will add real value to the work of the SWA and our member companies at a time of some change in how Scotch whisky is exported as the UK leaves the EU.

“Our industry has seen consistent export growth over the last 20 years, which in turn boosts investment and jobs within Scotland and the UK.

“With his experience, Ian is well placed to help the industry continue that growth, ensuring a competitive trading environment for Scotch whisky exports.”

McKendrick added: “I am excited to join the Scotch Whisky Association at such a pivotal time for one of Scotland’s most important industries overseas. I know from my previous experience how respected the SWA and Scotch whisky is on the world stage.

“I’m looking forward to helping the team continue to secure fair market access in existing markets and building the industry’s presence in global markets like India, China and Brazil, which have huge potential for future growth.”

Scotch whisky has enjoyed good fortunes recently, with global exports growing in volume and value terms last year.

Figures released by Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs revealed the total export value of Scotch increased by 7.8% to reach a record £4.07 billion (US$5.25bn) in 2018.

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