Discus names Clarkson Hine chair

15th July, 2020 by Melita Kiely

The Distilled Spirits Council of the US (Discus) has elected Clarkson Hine, Beam Suntory senior vice president of corporate communications and public affairs, as chair of the association.

Clarkson Hine Discus

Clarkson Hine has been appointed chair of Discus

Hine succeeds former Diageo North America president Deirdre Mahlan, who as been chair of Discus since 2018.

Mahlan said: “Discus member companies are extremely fortunate to have Clarkson lead the Discus board at this critical juncture for the spirits industry. The current business environment will present many opportunities and challenges for the spirits industry.

“I am confident Discus will benefit from Clarkson’s direction and steady guidance as Discus leads the industry in navigating through these dynamic market conditions while remaining steadfast in our strong commitment to promoting responsibility and moderation.”

Hine has more than 20 years’ experience in the spirits industry, starting his career at Beam Suntory’s predecessor company, Fortune Brands.

Before entering the business world, Hine spent seven years working in senior communications positions in US Senate Leadership and on presidential campaigns.

He is also board chair of the International Alliance for Responsible Drinking and sits on the board of directors at Responsibility.org and the National Association of Manufacturers.

In 2018, Hine took on the role of interim president and CEO at Discus for six months.

“I look forward to working with Discus president and CEO Chris Swonger, our member companies and the highly talented Discus team to proactively address and help shape this evolving new marketplace, advocate for equitable treatment for spirits companies and consumers, and create a more agile, stronger spirits industry,” Hine commented.

“On behalf of the Discus board of directors, I want to thank Deirdre for her strong leadership, strategic guidance and dedication to Discus over the past two years.

“During her time as chair, the industry marked continued market share gains, and Discus grew its craft distiller membership by nearly 100 members and held its first industry-wide annual conference.”

In additional appointments, the Discus board has also selected Matt Deegan, Constellation Brands senior vice president and chief sales officer, to be vice chair.

Discus’ chief financial officer, Adrian Baxter, has been appointed treasurer.

The board also re-elected Courtney Armour, Discus chief legal officer, to act as the board’s corporate secretary.

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