THE Scotch Whisky Association has unveiled its new chief executive.

Mark Kent, a former British ambassador to Argentina who has spent more than three decades with the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, will succeed Karen Betts, it has been announced this morning.

He follows in the footsteps of Ms Betts and her predecessor, David Frost in joining the organisation after a career in the diplomatic service.

Mr Kent, who will be the ninth chief executive in the organisation’s 110-year history, said: “I am delighted to have been appointed as CEO of the Scotch Whisky Association. 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 globe 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.”

Mr Kent will take up the position in January. Ms Betts will leave the SWA next month to take over as chief executive of the Food and Drink Federation.

Scott McCroskie, chairman of the SWA Council, said: “I am delighted that Mark will be joining the Scotch Whisky Association, to lead the organisation’s and the industry’s next exciting chapter. 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.”