Edinburgh Zoo chief to run Johnnie Walker whisky attraction

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Barbara Smith
Image caption,
Barbara Smith will join Diageo in the new year

The boss of Edinburgh Zoo is to leave her role to run a major new whisky visitor attraction in the city.

Barbara Smith will join Diageo in the new year as general manager of its flagship Johnnie Walker Princes Street "visitor experience".

She will also run Diageo's network of distillery visitor centres in Scotland.

Ms Smith is currently chief executive of the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland, which operates Edinburgh Zoo and Highland Wildlife Park.

She has previously been in charge of other major attractions, including Edinburgh Castle and Chester Zoo.

Image source, Diageo
Image caption,
Diageo aims to open the new visitor centre in Princes Street by the end of next year

The Johnnie Walker attraction is part of a £150m investment by Diageo in Scotch whisky tourism.

The spirits giant aims to open the centre, based at the former House of Fraser store in Princes Street, by the end of 2020.

Ms Smith said: "I look forward enormously to playing a leading role in delivering this transformational programme."