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Defra Brexit negotiator steps in as SWA industry director

Published:  05 June, 2018

The Scotch Whisky Association (SWA) has appointed a former top government Brexit negotiator as its new industry director.

Dagmar Droogsma joins the SWA from Defra, where she played a leading role in formulating the department’s position ahead of the Brexit negotiations. In her new role, she will oversee the SWA’s work on operational issues, alcohol policy, taxation and industrial strategy.

“I’m absolutely thrilled to have joined the SWA,” she said. “I’m excited about using my experience and skills to drive the sustainable growth of the whisky sector through and beyond Brexit.”

In the past 25 years, Droogsma has held senior positions for professional bodies such as the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors. As a lawyer, she has advised the Dutch government and worked for the UN and EU.

“I’m delighted that Dagmar is joining the SWA team,” said SWA chief executive Karen Betts. “She will bring a wealth of experience from her previous roles, both inside and outside government. She will strengthen the Association’s expertise at a busy time, as the industry works to ensure that Scotland’s national drink continues to thrive.”

Droogsma’s appointment comes a month after the SWA appointed Gerry McFall – former director of global affairs & communication campaigns at Italian aerospace company Leonardo Helicopters – as its new director of strategy & communication.

Scotch whisky is the UK biggest food & drink export and hit a new high of £4.37bn in 2017. That represents an increase of 8.9% on volumes up 1.6%. The equivalent of 1.23 billion bottle were shipped globally last year, according to data from HMRC.