Whyte & Mackay has appointed a new CEO.

The Scotch whisky firm, which was bought by India's UB Group in 2007, said today (24 March) that John Beard started in the new position yesterday, replacing Ashwin Malik, who is returning to India.

Beard joins Whyte & Mackay from Bacardi Brown Forman, where he spent the last three years as UK CEO. Prior to this role, Beard spent 19 years working in a variety of sales, marketing and general management roles at Bacardi. His last position before leaving Bacardi was as regional director for Eastern Europe, which included covering the firm's travel retail operations.

"I have met with (UB Group chairman) Dr Mallya personally, and there is no doubt in my mind that he is committed to this company, committed to building great premium brands, and committed to making Whyte & Mackay a major international spirits company," said Beard. "I am looking forward to doing my bit to help that become a reality."

Malik added: "I have enjoyed my time here in Scotland and have met many wonderful people, but the time is right to return to India with my family."

Beard's appointment follows the appointment in January of Nick Garland, who joined the company as global sales and marketing director from Beam Global.

Speculation grew earlier this month that The UB Group was looking to sell off Whyte & Mackay in its entirety, but Whyte & Mackay declined to comment on the reports.