The Scotch Whisky Association (SWA) should have no worries about its messages getting lost in translation after appointing a multilingual former British ambassador to Argentina, Mark Kent, as its new chief executive.
The Oxford University law graduate has language qualifications in Spanish, Portuguese, French, Dutch, Vietnamese and Thai – which should come in handy as he promotes Scotland’s top export in some of its most important markets globally.
Mr Kent, 55, is also a former British ambassador to both Thailand and Vietnam.
I’m looking forward to helping the industry to unleash its full potential.”
Mark Kent, soon-to-be chief executive of the SWA.
In addition, he has served in embassies in Mexico City and Brasilia, as well as the UK Representation to the European Union, and Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe.
As such, he has lived and worked in many of the key markets for Scotland’s national drink.
And he enjoys a dram too – telling the Buenos Aires Times earlier this year that if it came to a straight choice between wine and whisky, he would always choose the latter.
More than three decades of diplomatic service
Mr Kent also boasts a masters degree in European law and economics from the Universite Libre de Bruxelles in Belgium, as well as a postgraduate qualification in business administration from the Open University.
He served as ambassador to Argentina from 2016 to June 2021, his final posting in a UK diplomatic service career spanning more than three decades.
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.”
Scott McCroskie, chairman, SWA Council.
Mr Kent, who hails from Spilsby, Lincolnshire, said: “I know in what high regard the Scotch whisky industry and the SWA is held worldwide.
“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.”
SWA Council chairman Scott McCroskie said: “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.”
Mr Kent will start his new role in January, when he will become the ninth CEO in the SWA’s 110-year history.
He is taking over from Karen Betts, who leaves the organisation in December 2021 to become chief executive at the Food and Drink Federation.