The Scotch Whisky Association has announced that Mark Kent, former British Ambassador to Argentina, will succeed Karen Betts as chief executive.
Mark joins the SWA following more than three decades with the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO).
Most recently, he served as Ambassador to Argentina from 2016 to June 2021. He also served as the Ambassador to Thailand, Ambassador to Vietnam, as well as roles at British Embassies in Mexico City, Brasilia and the UK Representation to the European Union.
Commenting on his appointment as the ninth chief executive in the SWA’s 110-year history, Mark Kent 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.’
Scott McCroskie, chair of the SWA Council, added: ‘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.’
Mark, who will take up the position in January 2022, will take over from Karen Betts, who leaves the SWA in December 2021 to take over as chief executive at the Food and Drink Federation.