Scotland business

Frenchman Pierre Pringuet appointed chairman of whisky body

Pierre Pringuet Image copyright Scotch Whisky Association
Image caption Mr Pringuet has worked at Pernod Ricard for more than 25 years

A Frenchman has been appointed as the new chairman of the Scotch Whisky Association (SWA).

Pierre Pringuet, who is chief executive and vice-chairman of Pernod Ricard, succeeds Ian Curle, who led the trade body for three years.

William Grant & Sons director Peter Gordon replaces Mr Pringuet as SWA vice-chairman.

The SWA said Mr Pringuet's appointment reflected the international nature of Scotch.

It added that he would work closely with SWA chief executive David Frost and the rest of the association council "to guide the Scotch whisky industry to further success".

The association's priorities include "securing a competitive business environment" and the legal protection of Scotch whisky worldwide.

Mr Pringuet joined Chivas Brothers' owner Pernod Ricard in 1987 as development director.

He was appointed as its sole chief executive in 2008 and became vice-chairman of the board of directors in 2012.

'Iconic product'

Mr Pringuet said: "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."

The SWA also announced the appointment of Julie Hesketh-Laird as its new deputy chief executive.

Ms Hesketh-Laird joined the SWA in 2005 as director of operational and technical affairs.

New senior figures on the council include Diageo's chief executive, Ivan Menezes, and its global policy and public affairs director, Richard Burn.

'Exciting time'

SWA chief executive David 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 £4bn 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."

The association intends to sell its current office in Edinburgh and move to new premises in the capital next year.

It also plans to open a small permanent office in London to strengthen its impact there.

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