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Scotch Whisky Association appoints new chief executive

Published:  02 January, 2014

Former diplomat and top civil servant David Frost has taken over the reins as chief executive of the Scotch Whisky Association.

Frost has led a distinguished career as director for Europe, Trade and International Affairs at the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS), the UK government's department which focuses  on economic growth and trade policy.

 He is a diplomat by profession, and has been HM Ambassador to Denmark from 2006 to 2008 and a director for both Strategy and the EU in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. 

Outgoing chief executive Gavin Hewitt, who has held the role for the past 10 years, said the body now thinks "more commercially" in how it represents its member companies. He said the 2009 Scotch Whisky Regulations were a highlight of his 10 years at the association, describing them in a blog posting as "transformational".  "They took six years hard work with governments north and south of the border. The Regulations set out for the industry, SWA members and non-members alike, the production and presentational rules for every bottle of Scotch. The consumer now is told clearly the category of Scotch, whether a Single Malt, Blended Malt or Blended Scotch Whisky. As required for all European Union Geographical Indication spirit drinks, we will have a verification regime in place by the turn of the year to ensure that all Scotch is what it says on the label."

He said other top priorities of his tenure had included access to market in Europe and the rest of the world, alcohol and health, and Scotch whisky's environment and sustainability strategies.

The trade body is also shaking up several other key positions, with Campbell Evans moving from his position as SWA government and communications director to become director of international affairs. He replaces Pete Wilkinson who retires after 22 years with the SWA.

 David Williamson, currently deputy director of international affairs, becomes government and communications director.