Independent family distiller William Grant & Sons Ltd has appointed Niall Howard as group finance director.

Niall Howard, who joins the company from The Royal Bank of Scotland, will be based at William Grant & Sons' Scottish production headquarters in Bellshill, Motherwell.  He will be responsible for all financial operations in the UK and overseas and will be a member of the company's executive committee.

William Grant & Sons' group managing director Patrick Thomas said:  "With his broad experience in very diversified areas including the integration of new companies, Niall will be a valuable addition to our Executive team.

"As we continue to develop the business through the organic growth of our existing brands and focus on creating new revenue streams through acquisition, Niall will play a key role in driving our strategy to ensure continued growth moving forward," he said.

Raised in Huntly, Aberdeenshire, and married with three children, Howard will join William Grant & Sons in the New Year and replaces Paul Dollman who left the company to join John Menzies plc.