SWA creates heavyweight London team

The Scotch Whisky Association has appointed a number of senior high-fliers from the worlds of diplomacy and politics as it opens a London office to help strengthen the industry’s global presence.

Sarah Dickson, the SWA's new director of global affairs

Sarah Dickson, the SWA’s new director of global affairs

The new office in Wesminster will be headed by Sarah Dickson, currently HM Ambassador to Guatemala and Honduras, who joins the SWA in July as director of global affairs. Dickson’s career with the UK Diplomatic Service has seen her work extensively overseas, including roles in Madrid, Buenos Aires and Belgrade, as well as two posts in London where she worked with the EU directorate.

Her new role will be to “help build and extend the SWA’s international influence and contacts, eliminate barriers to the export of Scotch and position the organisation as one with broad international credibility on the importance of free trade and open markets.”

Dickson will be joined in London by Graeme Littlejohn, previously head of office for former Member of Parliament and chief secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander. As head of external affairs for the SWA, his role will be to develop the organisation’s relationships across Whitehall and Westminster.

The shake-up will also see trade policy manager Helen Mumdzjana move from the SWA’s Scotland headquarters to London, where she will eventually be joined by other trade and regulation specialists.

While the SWA will keep its head office in Edinburgh, this will move from its current premises on Atholl Crescent to the modern Quartermile development over the course of this summer.

Commenting on her new role, Dickson said: “I’m looking forward to joining the Scotch Whisky Association, an organisation recognised globally for its work in representing a highly successful Scottish and British industry. I will develop the Association’s sterling work in trade policy and build its presence in London with the help of a strong team.”

The appointments were welcomed by SWA chief executive David Frost, who said: “I’m delighted that Sarah and Graeme are joining the Association. They bring a wealth of experience and will be real assets as we grow our presence in London and overseas.”

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