FORMER Whyte & Mackay chief executive John Beard has joined retailer The Whisky Shop as a non-executive director.

Mr Beard had spent close to two decades at Bacardi and its associated companies before taking up the Whyte & Mackay post in Glasgow during March 2009.

After leaving the company last year he was then involved in a bid from Lion Capital Private Equity to buy it outright. But that proved unsuccessful with Philipines brandy producer Emperador winning the race last month after agreeing to pay £430 million for the Scotch whisky producer.

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Mr Beard's international experience is likely to be tapped into with The Whisky Shop, which has 23 shops, looking at options to expand outside the UK.

Ian Bankier, founder and chairman of The Whisky Shop as well as chairman of Celtic, said: "Having established a sizeable footprint in the UK, we now have aspirations to expand into Europe.

"John brings us a wealth of experience of overseas markets and brand development and will play an important role in helping us achieve our international growth ambitions.

"The international appetite for premium whisky is growing strongly, giving us the confidence to examine a number of exciting opportunities to replicate our UK growth in overseas markets. We are looking at Europe first."

Mr Beard said he has known Mr Bankier and The Whisky Shop managing director Andrew Torrance for a number of years and added: "The Whisky Shop's reputation amongst the industry's key brand owners and the discerning public is an enviable one."