Former British Ambassador to Buenos Aires has been chosen to head the Scotch Whisky Association, something which was no surprise at all in the Argentine capital, where he proved to be quite a connoisseur on the subject.
His Twitter exchanges with his Japanese colleague on the subject did have an impact on the River Plate shores. For example, in January 2019, Kent wrote: That is why you are one of my favorite ambassadors! That is one of the top whiskeys! For my part, I'm going to bring a Japanese-style Scotch whiskey, Kent publicly told Noriteru Fukushima in Spanish ahead of a radio show both diplomats were to attend.
Kent joins the Scotch Whisky Association (SWA) after more than three decades with the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, including ambassadorial positions in Thailand and Vietnam before Buenos Aires. He will take up the new position in January.
Speaking about his appointment as the ninth chief executive in the SWA’s 110-year history, Kent said: “I am delighted to have been appointed as CEO of the SWA. As a former ambassador, 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,” he added.
Kent graduated in law from Oxford University and gained a master's degree in European law and economics from the Universite Libre de Bruxelles in Belgium. He has a further postgraduate qualification in business administration from the Open University and has language qualifications in Spanish, Portuguese, French, Dutch, Vietnamese and Thai.
“I am delighted that Mark will be joining the Scotch Whisky Association, to lead the organization’s and the industry’s next exciting chapter, said Scott McCroskie, chairman of the SWA Council, upon welcoming Kent. “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,” he went on.
“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,” McCroskie elaborated.
Kent will succeed Karen Betts, who will take over as chief executive of the Food and Drink Federation.