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SWA appoints Mark Kent chief executive

The Scotch Whisky Association (SWA) has named Mark Kent, former British ambassador to Argentina, as successor to the trade body’s chief executive, Karen Betts.

Mark Kent SWA CEO
Mark Kent will step into the role of SWA chief executive in January 2022

Kent has more than 30 years’ experience with the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO).

In his most recent post, Kent served as ambassador to Argentina from 2016 to 2021.

He also worked as the ambassador to Thailand, ambassador to Vietnam, and has held roles at British Embassies in Mexico City and Brasilia. Furthermore, Kent has acted as the UK representation to the European Union.

Kent, who will be the ninth chief executive in the SWA’s 110-year history, 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 glove to discover and enjoy our premium and iconic product.

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

Kent will take up the post in January 2022, taking over from Betts who will depart in December this year to take over as chief executive at the Food and Drink Federation.

Scott McCroskie, chair 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.”

Yesterday (25 November), the SWA welcomed a 50% import tax cut for the category in Maharashtra, India.

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