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SWA Council

The SWA is governed by a Council of 16 members, elected at its Annual General Meeting.

The Council appoints a number of committees to assist and advise it on different aspects of its work; it sets the strategic direction and agrees on the overall policy of the SWA.

By drawing its members from chief executives and other senior figures, in companies of all sizes, the Council reflects the interests of all SWA members.

SWA Council Members

Jean-Etienne Gourgues, Chivas Brothers Ltd (Chair)

Alex Alvarez, Beam Suntory

Ewan Andrew, Diageo plc

Debra Crew, Diageo plc

Bryan Donaghey, Whyte and Mackay

Rita Greenwood, William Grant & Sons Ltd (Vice Chair)

Paul Hyde, Edrington (Treasurer)

Malcolm Leask, International Beverage

 

Colin Matthews, Loch Lomond Group

Scott McCroskie, Edrington

Ken McKinlay, William Grant & Sons Ltd

Niall Mitchell, Bacardi

Dan Mobley, Diageo plc 

Alexandre Ricard, Pernod Ricard

Billy Walker, The GlenAllachie Distillers Company

Phillip White, Gordon & MacPhail


Chair of the SWA Council Jean-Etienne Gourgues (appointed on behalf of Chivas Brothers Ltd) explains the Council's priorities and challenges in 2024.

Jean-Etienne Gourgues

Jean-Etienne Gourgues

Jean-Etienne Gourgues was appointed Chair of the SWA Council on 1 January 2024. 

He was appointed Chivas Brothers Chairman and CEO in July 2021 following a successful tenure as the Managing Director of Pernod Ricard China since July 2014.

In 2001, after having worked in different industries, he joined Mumm & Perrier-Jouët Champagnes as Area Brand Manager, following which he was appointed to the position of Marketing and Development Manager in 2004. Jean-Etienne then became the Mumm & Perrier-Jouët Sales Director for Europe, with expanded worldwide responsibility in 2007.  In 2008, he joined the Martell Mumm Perrier-Jouët Executive Committee as MMPJ Sales Director. In October 2011 he was appointed President and Chief Executive Officer of Pernod Ricard Japan, before becoming Managing Director of Pernod Ricard China in July 2014.


Alex Alvarez

Alex Alvarez

Alex Alvarez is Chief Supply Chain Officer at Beam Suntory, responsible for global operations, including 19 distilleries and bottling plants, as well as the company's supply chain, procurement and quality functions.

Alvarez joined Beam Suntory following a 15-year career at Brown Forman where he most recently served as Senior Vice President, Chief Sustainability Officer and Director of ESG.  Prior to that role, he held the executive role of Senior Vice President, Chief Production and Sustainability Officer.  Earlier in his career, he served in manufacturing and operations roles of increasing responsibility at Procter & Gamble and General Mills.

Originally from Panama, Alvarez holds a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering from Iowa State University and a Master of Business Administration degree from Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Business.


Ewan Andrew

Ewan Andrew

Ewan Andrew was appointed President, Global Supply and Procurement of Diageo, in September 2019.

His previous Diageo roles include:

Supply Director, International Supply Centre
Senior Vice President,  Supply Chain & Procurement, Latin America & Caribbean
Senior Vice President Manufacturing & Distilling, North America
Supply Director, Australasia
Supply Director, Kilmarnock and various production management roles, Scotland


Debra Crew

Debra Crew

Debra Crew has been Chief Executive, Diageo plc since June 2023. She was previously Chief Operating Officer, Diageo plc and President, North America and Global Supply.

Debra originally joined the Diageo plc Board as a Non-Executive Director in April 2019, before stepping down from the Board when appointed President, North America in July 2020. Debra took on the additional accountability for Global Supply in February 2021.

Debra is the former President and CEO of Reynolds American, Inc, having previously served as President and Chief Operating Officer, and President and Chief Commercial Officer. Prior to that, Debra spent five years at PepsiCo, and held positions with Kraft Foods, Nestlé S.A. and Mars, Inc.

Debra is a graduate of the University of Denver, earned an MBA from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, and previously served as an officer in the United States Army. She currently serves on the board of Stanley Black & Decker, Inc., having previously served on the boards of Newell Brands and Mondēlez International.


Bryan Donaghey

Bryan Donaghey

Bryan Donaghey is the Chief Executive of Whyte and Mackay, the multi-award winning whisky maker whose portfolio includes The Dalmore, Fettercairn and Jura Single Malt whiskies. With 25 years experience in the industry Bryan previously held various financial and supply chain roles with Diageo.

Bryan joined Whyte and Mackay in September 2013 leading the company through a period of transformational growth. Proudly founded and headquartered in Glasgow in 1844, Whyte and Mackay export globally and operate eight sites across Scotland including 5 whisky distilleries.


Rita Greenwood

Rita Greenwood

Rita Greenwood  is the Chief Investment Officer for William Grant & Sons and has been a member of the Executive Board since 2017 in roles of Supervisory Board Business Counsel and President, Europe, Middle East and Africa. 

Rita has held a number of Managing Director roles including William Grant & Sons’ UK distribution business; developed European Markets and Global Travel Retail. Rita’s career in the drinks industry spans over 18 years after having begun in the food industry working for Nestlé.

Rita is a Master of the Quaich, a Corporate Liveryman of The Worshipful Company of Distillers and a former Board Trustee of The Drinks Trust charity.

Rita is an Executive Board sponsor for Diversity and Inclusion at William Grant & Sons and was recently recognised as an inspiring D&I Leader and Role Model in the Consumer Goods and Grocery Industry by MBS Group, IGD and PwC.


Paul Hyde

Paul Hyde

Paul Hyde is a chartered accountant who joined Edrington in 1997 and occupied a range of senior finance roles before becoming Strategy and Development Director. He was appointed Managing Director of Edrington's regional power brands in 2015. In August 2016 he was appointed Edrington's Chief Financial Officer.


Malcolm Leask

Malcolm Leask

Malcolm Leask is the Managing Director of International Beverage, a global beverage company headquartered in Hong Kong with operations in Asia, Europe, and Oceania.  International Beverage Holdings is a subsidiary of Thai Beverage plc, Southeast Asia’s largest beverage alcohol company. Malcolm is currently Chairman of the Scotch Whisky Experience and a Non-Executive Director at Wineflair (Belfast) Ltd.

Malcolm is an Executive Director of Inver House Distillers Ltd (UK); Cardrona Distillery Ltd (New Zealand); and is a Director of the Supervisory Board and joint Managing Director of Larsen SAS (France). Malcolm is a Master of the Quaich, a Liveryman of the Worshipful Company of Distillers, and a Freeman of the City of London.

A Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Marketing (FCIM), Malcolm also holds a Master’s Degree in Business Administration (MBA) from the University of Strathclyde.


Colin Matthews

Colin Matthews

Colin Matthews is the Chief Executive Officer at Loch Lomond Group. He previously worked as Managing Director at Imperial Tobacco.


Scott McCroskie

Scott McCroskie

Scott McCroskie is the Chief Executive of Edrington since April 2019. He has more than 20 years’ experience in the industry, holding financial and commercial roles with Scottish & Newcastle, Jim Beam Brands, Whyte & Mackay, and latterly with Maxxium UK, the spirits marketing and distribution business jointly owned by Edrington and Beam Global. He joined Edrington in 2009 and was appointed as Commercial Director in 2011.

Scott joined the Edrington board in 2013. In 2015 Scott became Managing Director of The Macallan, Edrington's leading brand and the world's most valuable Scotch whisky.


Ken McKinlay

Ken McKinlay

Ken McKinlay is the Group Stocks Director and an Executive Board member for family-owned distiller William Grant & Sons, whose brands include Glenfiddich and The Balvenie single malts and Grant's blended Scotch.

Ken joined the business in 1994 and is responsible for overseeing the Company's stocks of maturing spirits, trading of new and mature spirits and commodity purchasing.

With 30 years’ experience in the industry, Ken is a Master of the Quaich and represents William Grant & Sons on the Keepers of the Quaich Management Committee. He is also a Non-Executive Director of The Scotch Whisky Experience on Edinburgh’s Royal Mile and a Liveryman of The Worshipful Company of Distillers.


Niall Mitchell

Niall Mitchell

Niall Mitchell joined Bacardi in 2017 as the head of Finance for Global Supply Chain based in Geneva. He now leads the Supply Chain teams for EUROC, which includes production and supply of the Scotch Whisky portfolio, Bombay Gin, Grey Goose and Martini amongst many other brands.

Niall started out his career in consumer goods with Philips Electronics before switching to the premium drinks industry and worked for Diageo and SABMiller before joining Bacardi. Niall is originally from the UK and has worked internationally in the US twice, Switzerland and Russia. He gets great satisfaction from partnering with others to grow brands beyond their expected levels and developing great teams.

 


Dan Mobley

Dan Mobley

Dan Mobley was appointed Global Corporate Relations Director and a member of the Diageo Executive Management Team, in June 2017, after joining Diageo in 2016.

He is also chair of the board of IARD, the International Alliance for Responsible Drinking, which brings together the largest global alcohol companies to tackle misuse. Dan is also the Royal Warrant Holder for Johnnie Walker and a Director of John Walker & Sons Ltd.

Prior to joining Diageo, Dan held a variety of roles in Corporate Relations at Standard Chartered in London, Mumbai and Johannesburg. Dan moved to the private sector after eight years in the UK Treasury, latterly as Private Secretary to the Permanent Secretary and a spell with the Foreign Office in the UK Representation to the European Union in Brussels. Dan has also worked for a trade union, environment and development NGOs and the United Nations Association.


Alexandre Ricard

Alexandre Ricard

A graduate of ESCP and of the Wharton School of Business, Alexandre Ricard worked in consulting and M&A for 7 years prior to joining Pernod Ricard at the Group’s Paris HQ in 2003.

He moved to Dublin as CFO of Irish Distillers end 2004, then to Hong Kong in 2006 as CEO of Pernod Ricard Asia Duty Free. 

In 2008, he returned to Dublin as CEO of Irish Distillers before moving back to Paris in 2011 to join the Group’s Executive Board as MD, Distribution Network.

He was appointed Deputy Chief Executive and COO in August 2012 and was named Chairman and Chief Executive on February 11, 2015.

Alexandre Ricard is a French national and a grandson of the company’s founder, Paul Ricard.


Billy Walker

Billy Walker

Billy Walker is the Master Blender at the helm of The GlenAllachie Distillers Company.   He acquired the distillery in 2017. 

Throughout his famed career, Billy has amassed countless awards including Master Distiller/ Blender of the Year (World Whisky Awards, 2020) and in 2021 was inducted into Whisky Magazine’s prestigious Hall of Fame.

He has a passion for whisky making, coupled with an BSc Honours Degree in Chemistry from The University of Glasgow in 1967.


Phillip White

Phillip White

Phillip White is Chief Executive of Gordon & MacPhail.   Established in 1895, Gordon & MacPhail is known as a leading independent bottler and distiller, carefully maturing whiskies from almost 100 Scottish distilleries in their own casks, before releasing them as some of the world’s rarest single malt Scotch Whiskies.  Proud owner of Benromach Distillery, Gordon & MacPhail opened the company’s second distillery, The Cairn in 2022. 

Phillip started his career at Whitbread when they were originally a brewing company. He progressed through various roles, before moving to Bacardi and Brown Forman in 2003, where he held roles in the UK and Overseas. In 2013, Phillip worked with Private Equity-backed Brakes Foodservice, before their 2016 acquisition by Sysco, the world’s largest foodservice company based out of Houston Texas. Prior to joining Gordon & MacPhail earlier in 2024, Phillip’s role was leading the regional foodservice acquisitions in the UK market, on behalf of Sysco.