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26 November 2021

SWA announces Mark Kent as new Chief Executive

SWA announces Mark Kent as new Chief Executive
The Scotch Whisky Association (SWA) has announced that Mark Kent, former British Ambassador to Argentina, will succeed Karen Betts as Chief Executive, when Karen leaves the SWA later this year.

The Scotch Whisky Association (SWA) has announced that Mark Kent, former British Ambassador to Argentina, will succeed Karen Betts as Chief Executive. 

Mark joins the SWA following more than three decades with the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO). Most recently, he served as Ambassador to Argentina from 2016 to June 2021.  He also served as the Ambassador to Thailand, Ambassador to Vietnam, as well as roles at British Embassies in Mexico City, Brasilia and the UK Representation to the European Union.

Commenting on his appointment as the ninth Chief Executive in the SWA’s 110-year history, Mark Kent said: “I am delighted to have been appointed as CEO of the Scotch Whisky Association. As a former Ambassador, I know in what high regard the Scotch Whisky industry and the SWA is held  worldwide.

New SWA Chief Executive Mark Kent

New SWA Chief Executive Mark Kent

“After a challenging period, I’m looking forward to helping the industry to unleash its full potential and enable people across the globe to discover and enjoy our premium and iconic product. The Scotch Whisky industry has a fantastic history, great stories to tell and continues to innovate. I can’t wait to get started.”

Welcoming Mark Kent to the role, Scott McCroskie, Chair of the SWA Council, added: “I am delighted that Mark will be joining the Scotch Whisky Association, to lead the organisation’s and the industry’s next exciting chapter.  Mark brings with him an outstanding depth of experience which will allow the SWA to continue to support the industry’s interests around the world.

“We look forward to working with him as the industry looks to make new ground in key growth markets and build a sustainable future for the industry by continuing our push towards net-zero.”

Mark Kent, who will take up the position in January 2022, will take over from Karen Betts, who leaves the SWA in December 2021 to take over as Chief Executive at the Food and Drink Federation.

Ends

Notes to Editors:

Mark Kent was British Ambassador to the Argentine Republic from July 2016 to June 2021. He was previously Ambassador to the Kingdom of Thailand (2012-2016) and Ambassador to the Socialist Republic of Vietnam (2007-2010).

He has served in the British Embassies in Mexico City and Brasilia as well as the UK Representation to the European Union, and Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe (SHAPE). He graduated in Law from the University of Oxford and gained a Masters degree in European Law and Economics from the Université Libre de Bruxelles in Belgium.