Diageos top man will promote the UK business abroad in the goverment-backed role

Diageo's top man will promote the UK business abroad in the goverment-backed role

Diageo CEO Paul Walsh has been appointed as one of two global government ambassadors for the UK food and drink industries.

In the role, Walsh will make overseas visits to promote the interests of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and boost their access to global markets, the UK's Department for Business, Innovation and Skills said. Walsh will be joined by James Townshend, chief executive of farm group Velcourt, who has also been appointed as an ambassador. 

A BIS spokesperson told just-drinks that Walsh's and Townshend's remits would be "identical".

The appointments were confirmed at the British Business Embassy Retail, Food and Drink summit in London yesterday (9 August).

The UK's Business Secretary, Vince Cable, welcomed the appointments, adding that food and drink is the UK's "single largest manufacturing sector", worth around GBP25bn (US$39m) a year. 

"Government is committed to working closely with firms in these sectors to stimulate growth and encourage new investment opportunities," he said.

Walsh is also a member of the UK Prime Minister David Cameron's Business Advisory Group, formed in October 2010 to give advice on "critical business and economic issues facing the country".