Scotland business

Diplomat Karen Betts named as new Scotch Whisky Association boss

Karen Betts
Image caption Ms Betts said the job would allow her to move back to Edinburgh

The British ambassador to Morocco has been named as the new chief executive of the Scotch Whisky Association.

Karen Betts becomes the first woman in the organisation's 105-year history to take on the role.

Currently stationed in Rabat, the St Andrews University graduate has spent the past 16 years working for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

She is due to take over the post in May after David Frost stepped down from the job in November 2016.

Mr Frost, himself a former ambassador to Denmark, left the distillers' trade body to return to the Foreign Office, where he has become an adviser to Foreign Secretary Boris Johnston on the Brexit process.

'Exit from EU'

The SWA, which is currently taking legal action to halt the Scottish government's plans for a minimum alcohol price, claims the whisky industry contributes nearly £5bn a year to the UK economy.

Ms Betts said she was thrilled to be representing one of Scotland's most important industries, at home and overseas.

She added: "It's an exciting and challenging time for the Scotch Whisky industry, and I am looking forward immensely to helping ensure its success into the future.

"I am also delighted to be moving back to Edinburgh with my family."

SWA chairman, Pierre Pringuet, said Ms Betts would bring "fresh leadership".

He added: "Her wide international experience will be particularly valuable as we work with government to grow the Scotch whisky industry globally and make a success of the UK's exit from the EU."