A leading agricultural economist and academic, Dr Johan van Rooyen, who has strong links with numerous local and international industry bodies has been appointed as the first CEO of the South African Wine and Brandy Company (SAWB).

He pipped 120 candidates who applied for the post, which according to sources, included some high-powered businessmen hoping to get a toe in door of the industry.

The newly founded SAWB has been set up to provide the wine and brandy industry with strategic leadership and direction and will serve as its official mouthpiece.

Dr Van Rooyen assumes his duties at the beginning of next and will report to a board, whose interim chairman is Jan Scannel of Distell and which comprises five members each from four chambers. They represent wine farmers, cellars, labour and the trade.

Van Rooyen teaches agri-business management at Pretoria University, is a director of among others, South Africa's Landbank and involved with the International Food and Agribusiness Management Association.