Brian Megson, chief executive of Scotch whisky company Kyndal, today announced that he is leaving the business. The announcement has taken the industry by surprise, coming so soon after the management buyout of the Whyte & Mackay business from Jim Beam Brands, which formed the company.

In a statement Megson said: "After twenty two years with the business, and having led it through a major management buy out 15 months ago, I have decided that I wish to pursue other interests after successfully achieving the early objectives set out at the time of the MBO.

"To date, the Group has achieved the targets set in its original business plan and has demonstrated a strong cash generation. This, together with the wealth of talented people within Kyndal, provide a solid base for its future development and I wish it much success"

Megson led the management buy-out of the business 15 months ago and has left with immediate effect. His decision comes weeks before a long-anticipated deal to securitise Kyndal's debt against its whisky stocks and property assets.

Some of the Scottish press has speculated that the surprise announcement is a result of disagreements with the company's backers German bank WestLB, and the Rotch Property Group.

Vivian Imerman, chairman of Kyndal denied suggestions that Megson's departure was sudden, saying the chief executive had planned on reviewing his personal options once the securitisation deal was done. "It is not (being done) with haste," Imerman said. "Brian has been with the company for 15 months since the buy-out, and he has hit all the targets we set out. "However, the business is at a turning point. It needs to go on to the next stage."

Imerman will assume the temporary position of CEO in addition to the chairmanship. He said: "Brian has made a valuable contribution to Kyndal over the many years he has been with the business and we wish him well in the future.

Megson joined Whyte and Mackay as an accountant in 1981. He was appointed to the board in 1993, became finance director in 1996 and chief executive in 1999.