The Portman Group has appointed a top Cabinet Office civil servant as its new CEO, strengthening its hand as the UK drinks industry seeks to adhere to the Government's responsibility deal on alcohol.

Henry Ashworth joins Portman Group from the Cabinet Office Behavioural Insights Team, where he was leading health policy, looking specifically at applying insights from behavioural science to support better personal decision-making in key areas of public health.

The appointment will help the self-regulatory body as it strives to help the drinks sector to meet Government requirements on the responsible marketing of alcoholic drinks. In the next few weeks, Portman will begin a review of its marketing code for the sector, set to include a consultation.

"I firmly believe that self-regulation based on a tough code of practice that is rigorously monitored and enforced is the right way forward,” said Ashworth yesterday (19 September). "I look forward to working closely with other groups to build a consensus around actions that promote responsible attitudes to alcohol."

Ashworth, who will take up the role on 24 October, replaces David Poley, who has left the alcohol industry.

Last week, UK health minister Andrew Lansley praised the drinks industry for its efforts to promote its products more responsibly. Under the 'responsibility deal' between drinks companies and the Government, those who have signed up have pledged to provide "health information" on 80% of products on sale in the UK by 2013.