Blog: Andy MortonThe (temporary) return of Paul Walsh to the drinks debate

Andy Morton | 27 April 2017

Paul Walsh just can't stay away from the drinks industry.

The former Diageo chief exited the drinks scene in 2014 and is currently chairman of catering firm Compass Group. But on 16 May, he will appear as a panellist at this year Distillers’ City Debate in London.

The motion at the annual event will be “This house believes that innovation is a more effective tool for growth than acquisition in the Spirits Industry” and, perhaps aptly for a man that took Diageo into its Ketel One and Ciroc ventures and secured the Captain Morgan and Crown Royal brands, Walsh is arguing in favour of acquisitions.

He'll face off against Diageo's global head of innovation, Michael Ward. With alcohol companies set on boosting their growth through innovation in the face of spiralling acquisition costs, next month's debate could show to the audience just how much the industry has changed since Walsh was in his pomp.

The Distillers’ City Debate will take place on 16 May at Bank of America Merrill Lynch, London EC1A. It will be chaired by just-drinks columnist Ian Buxton. Tickets are available at or on

Sectors: Beer & cider, Spirits, Wine

Companies: Diageo


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