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Scotch Whisky Association confirms Pernod chief Pierre Pringuet as new chairman

Published:  02 December, 2014

Pernod Ricard's chief executive Pierre Pringuet is the new chairman of the Scotch Whisky Association.

Pernod Ricard's chief executive Pierre Pringuet is the new chairman of the Scotch Whisky Association.

Pierre Pringuet, chief executive officer, Pernod RicardPierre Pringuet, chief executive of Pernod Ricard, is the new SWA chairman

Pernod Ricard's portfolio includes Chivas Brothers Scotch whisky and the SWA insists the appointment shows the "auld alliance" between Scotland and France remains strong.

Pringuet succeeds Ian Curle, Edrington chief executive, who chaired the body for the last three years, and will remain on its governing council. Peter Gordon, director at William Grant & Sons, replaces Pringuet as vice chairman of the SWA.

The SWA also announced that Diageo chief executive Ivan Menezes, alongside the company's global policy and public affairs director Richard Burn, will also join the SWA council.

Julie Hesketh-Laird has been appointed as the SWA's new deputy chief executive - she will continue in her role as director of operational & technical affairs at the body. 

The association is looking to sell its Atholl Crescent office and move to modern premises in Edinburgh during 2015, and to open a small permanent office in London to strengthen its impact there.

The SWA says Pringuet will work closely with chief executive David Frost on priorities including securing the competitive business environment, the industry's social responsibility agenda, fair access to export markets, and the legal protection of Scotch whisky around the globe.

With the UK Budget only three months away, there will also be an immediate focus on the high taxation of Scotch whisky, where nearly 80% of the average price of a bottle goes straight to the UK government.

Pringuet has been with Pernod Ricard since 1987, when he joined as development director. In 2000 he became a joint chief executive, becoming the sole chief executive in 2008 and vice chairman of the board of directors in 2012.

"I feel privileged to take over as chairman of the SWA and I'm committed to ensuring Scotch whisky retains its position as an iconic product around the world. With its great brands and committed people, as well as the support of governments at home and abroad, the Scotch whisky industry will go from strength to strength," said Pringuet.

Frost said: "I'm delighted to welcome Pierre Pringuet as chairman and to announce other changes at the association which further strengthen our ability to represent the industry effectively. 

"This is an exciting time for the SWA and the entire Scotch whisky industry. The industry supports around 40,000 jobs across the UK and exports about £4 billion annually, but its success cannot be taken for granted. Economic headwinds and challenges, both domestically and in overseas markets, mean the work of the association on behalf of the industry is of vital importance."