BBPA appoints pro-Brexit former MEP as new chief exec

The British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA) has appointed a pro-Brexit former MEP and spokesperson for international trade for the Conservative Party as its new chief executive.

The BPPA has appointed Emma McClarkin as its new chief executive

Emma McClarkin was a Conservative MEP for the East Midlands for 10 years before stepping down earlier this year.

She will replace outgoing boss Brigid Simmonds, who is leaving the organisation to head up the Betting and Gaming Council at the start of November.

The BBPA said she was a political communications expert with a “wealth of experience” influencing regulatory frameworks, setting strategy and communicating messages on a global level, as well as being a trade specialist and negotiator, having worked with the BBPA, Brewers of Europe and Spirits Europe.

While working in Brussels, McClarkin chaired the Commonwealth Forum, was a director of Global Policy for the Sports Integrity Global Alliance and is a Special Advisory Board Member at the Commonwealth Enterprise and Investment Council. She was also Vice President of the European Parliament Beer Club during her tenure as an MEP.

BBPA chairman, Simon Emeny said she has a “genuine passion for beer and pubs”, combined with the technical skills needed to represent the industry’s interests.

“She has drive and enthusiasm and I’m excited about the energy she brings to the role,” he said.

He also commended Simmonds on her “incredible legacy” and decade of “excellent results”, adding that he was looking forward to seeing how McClarkin builds on this and “utilises her past experience and connections to further the success of British pubs and beer.”

McClarkin said the British pub sector “provides a home for the amazing beers we brew in the UK as well as a hub for local produce and local people. The industry is a showcase for innovation and how business can contribute to society and I’m looking forward to telling that story in my new role.

“I’m excited to be leading the BBPA as it continues to make sure that this great community asset is protected, that British beer continues to be revered on the national and international stage, and that our industry is recognised for the amazing contribution it makes to the economy and the social fabric of Britain.”

In an interview with Politico.eu earlier this year, McClarkin described herself as a “happy Brexiteer”, explaining that while change may be scary for some, she saw it as a “healthy choice”, while also lamenting the growing “democratic deficit” inside the EU Parliament. She has said she is confident about the future of the UK, believing the country has a wealth of opportunities for trade outside of the EU.

The British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA) is the leading body representing Britain’s brewers and pub companies, with members owning around 20,000 of the UK’s pubs and accounting for around 90% of the beer brewed in the UK. 

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