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SWA appoints its first female CEO

Published:  02 March, 2017

The Scotch Whisky Association (SWA) has appointed a new CEO.

Karen Betts, who was employed by the Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) for the past 16 years, will take on her new role 19 May. She takes over from David Frost who stepped down from the role - covered by Julie Hesketh-Laird in the interim - in November 2016. 

During her career at the FCO, Betts held a variety of posts in London and overseas, including counsellor to the British Embassy in Washington and roles at the UK's Permanent Representation to the EU in Brussels and the British Embassy in Baghdad. She has also served in the Cabinet Office and the Joint Intelligence Committee

When taking up her new role, Betts will become only the eighth head, and the first female ceo, of the SWA in its 105 year history.

Betts' "wide international experience" would be particularly valuable as the SWA worked with government to grow the Scotch Whisky industry globally and make a success of the UK's exit from the EU, said SWA chairman Pierre Pringuet.

"We are delighted that Karen will be joining us and bringing fresh leadership to a talented SWA team as it continues to represent its members' interests effectively around the world."

Betts said: "I am thrilled to have been appointed to represent one of Scotland's most important industries in what is an exciting and challenging time for the industry, and I am looking forward immensely to helping ensure its success into the future."