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Scotch Whisky Association - New Chairman For Scotch Whisky Association As Exports Break Records - 2nd December, 2011

Whisky industry backs plans for alcohol duty review - 22nd June 2010Scotch Whisky exports hit a record high as the Scotch Whisky Association unveiled Ian Curle, chief executive of The Edrington Group, as its new chairman.
After four years as chair of the SWA, Paul Walsh, chief executive of Diageo, announced the industry export figures for the first three quarters of 2011, which show Scotch Whisky earning £125 every second for the UK balance of payments. The value of exports over the nine month period totalled almost £3billion – an increase of 23% on the same period of 2010.

He said he was delighted to be handing over the chairmanship to his friend and colleague Ian Curle at such a strong moment for the industry.

Mr Walsh said: “It has been a great pleasure and a privilege to chair the SWA over the past four years. As the latest export figures show, the industry is enjoying a tremendous period of growth around the world, making it one of the most important manufactured exports the UK produces. That growth is also helping drive investment by the industry in Scotland and so benefitting both the UK and Scottish economies.”

Mr Curle has been with The Edrington Group – producers of the Famous Grouse – since 1986 and chief executive since 2004. He will lead the Association into an important year of celebration as it marks the Centenary of its creation in 1912.

He said: “I am delighted to be taking over as chairman of the SWA at a time when the Scotch Whisky industry is in confident mood. Scotch Whisky is an iconic product and it will continue to be a prime asset and export for Scotland and the UK. I’ll work to protect the ntegrity of Scotch Whisky across the globe and to advance its export success. With the support of governments at home and abroad to achieve fairer taxation and reduction of trade barriers, the industry can reach even higher levels. The European Union is vital to this work.” He added that some future priorities for the SWA include completion of the negotiations between the European Union and India on a Free Trade Agreement which would reduce the onerous 150% import tariff. In the UK, a change in the current duty regime which sees Scotch Whisky being taxed more heavily than other drinks is long overdue. He said discrimination in the home market undermines the industry’s efforts overseas.

The industry will also continue to focus on achieving the ambitious targets set out in its environmental strategy published in 2009 which is committed to long-term sustainability. For example, an industry goal is for 80% of energy requirements to come from non-fossil fuel sources by 2050, with an interim target of 20% by 2020.
During Mr Walsh’s time as SWA chairman, the industry has invested over £1 billion in its production and manufacturing capacity in Scotland. About 10,300 people are employed in the Scotch Whisky industry.

The landmark Scotch Whisky Regulations 2009 were also introduced to provide more robust legal protection, particularly for Single Malt, against fakes and to help the consumer. Scotch Whisky has now achieved extra legal protection as a ‘geographical indication’ in many markets, including China and India, which means it is recognised as a product that can only be made in Scotland.

Gavin Hewitt, chief executive of the SWA, said:“I’d like to thank Paul Walsh for his sterling work, his commitment, ambition and his encouragement over the past four years. I look forward to working with a new chairman and vice chairman. Ian Curle will be taking on the role as chairman as the SWA enters a landmark year. Next year marks our Centenary during which we will celebrate Scotch Whisky and look to the opportunities and challenges of our next century.”

Pierre Pringuet, global chief executive of Pernod Ricard, will be vice chairman of the SWA.

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