Phillip White is to take the helm of Scotch whisky producer Gordon & MacPhail as MD Ewan Mackintosh retires, the company announced today (10 January).

Mackintosh announced his retirement last year after over three decades at the family-owned spirits company and ten years at the helm.

Gordon & MacPhail said former Bacardi and Brown-Forman executive White would focus on international growth opportunities “as [the business] moves into its next chapter of development”. He is set to join the Elgin-based company in April.

Neil Urquhart, Gordon & MacPhail’s chairman, said: “This is an exciting time for the company, as we look forward to executing our ambitious plans to continue building our brands internationally, developing our workforce and embarking on a significant capital investment phase to prepare the business for future growth while remaining true to our values.”

White has been managing director of food wholesale companies Kent Frozen Foods since 2020 and Medina Foodservice since last year. His previous roles include ten years in the drinks industry, across Bacardi and Brown-Forman.

In its last full-year results to the year ended February 2023, Gordon & MacPhail’s sales increased by 24.3% to £46.5m ($59.1m). Pre-tax profits increased from £10.4m to £17.4m. The company did not disclose its net profits when approached by Just Drinks.

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Upon his resignation last year, Mackintosh said: “After 33 years working for Gordon & MacPhail I feel that now is the time to step down.

“I have seen, and been part of, many exciting developments over the last three decades including the purchase and reopening of Benromach Distillery in Forres, the release of some of the world’s rarest single malt whiskies, and more recently the successful building and establishment of the Cairn Distillery and visitor centre, near Grantown-on-Spey.

“With the company in such a strong position, I feel it is the right time to hand the baton on as Gordon & MacPhail looks forward to its next exciting chapter.” 

As well as whisky maturation, Gordon & MacPhail owns two Scotch distilleries, Benromach in Moray and The Cairn near Grantown-on-Spey, which opened in 2022. It also owns Scottish gin brand, Red Door, which is produced at the Benromach distillery.

From 2024, it will focus on whiskies from Benromach and The Cairn, though still has “extensive maturing stocks” from other distilleries, it said.

Last year, Gordon & MacPhail announced its plans to wind down its UK wholesale business to concentrate its efforts on building its own brands. The wholesale business sold Gordon & MacPhail whiskies, Benromach whiskies and Red Door gin into the on- and off-premise as well as several ‘distributor’ brands, whiskies and spirits.

This year it is opening a ‘whisky experience’ tourist attraction in Elgin.