Diageo's CEO has been appointed chairman of The Scotch Whisky Association.

The trade body said yesterday (10 January), that Paul Walsh will succeed the former joint MD of Pernod Ricard, Richard Burrows, who is due to retire from the position after completing six years in the role.

The Edrington Group's chief executive Ian Curle will take over Walsh's former role of SWA vice-chairman, added the SWA said.

Walsh said: "It is an honour to be invited by my industry colleagues to become chairman of the SWA at a time when new opportunities for Scotch whisky are developing worldwide. Scotch whisky is one of the country's leading export industries, with annual shipments of GBP2.5bn (US$4.89bn) representing a quarter of UK and two thirds of Scottish food and drink exports by value. I want to build on this success for the benefit of the economy as a whole."

Walsh added: "The SWA's continuing priority must be to set a positive agenda in support of all its members, large and small. In addition to its invaluable legal work protecting the integrity of Scotch Whisky, the association has an important role to play in tackling the barriers to trade that unfairly hold us back in our export markets. Equally, leadership in the promotion of responsible attitudes to alcohol consumption and environmental sustainability will continue to be key priorities in the coming year."