The Board

Mark Hunter Non-Executive Chair and Chair of the Nomination Committee

Mark Hunter

Non-Executive Chair and Chair of the Nomination Committee

Mark was appointed as a Director on 24 March 2021.

Mark is the former President and CEO of MolsonCoors Brewing Company, a top five global brewer which had revenues of $10.8 billion, EBITDA of $2.45 billion and operations in over 25 markets globally as at 31 December 2018 (the end of the last accounting period before Mark retired). Mark retired from this role on 30 September 2019.

Mark is a non-executive director of TreeHouse Foods Inc, a US listed, leading manufacturer and distributor of private label packaged foods and beverages. Mark became a director in April 2020 and he is a member of the Audit Committee and the Long Range Planning Committee.

Mark has thirty-five years of marketing, sales and business unit leadership experience in North America, Europe and internationally. He has a track record of successful portfolio development, mergers and acquisitions, business integration and synergy delivery including the $12 billion acquisition of MillerCoors in the US and multiple brand acquisitions.

He is a people-orientated leader who believes passionately in clarity of purpose and ambition, aligning people to build enabling cultures and investing to build leadership capability, engagement and executional brilliance.


Paul Skipworth Non-Executive Deputy Chair

Paul Skipworth

Non-Executive Deputy Chair

Paul was appointed as a Director on 30 March 2015.

Paul started his career in corporate strategy consulting for 10 years at LEK Consulting, and was then a Partner in an Asian based venture capital fund. Paul then spent 13 years building consumer brands and leading consumer companies globally at LVMH, working across consumer markets in Europe, Asia Pacific and the US. Paul was CEO and COO of Glenmorangie for five years, Regional Director Asia Pacific at Moet Hennessy, Senior Vice President of Strategy for Moet Hennessy and was a Partner in L Capital, LVMH’s sponsored private equity fund focussed on the consumer sector.

Paul is a partner of Inverleith LLP along with Ben Thomson.


David Ridley Executive Managing Director

David Ridley

Executive Managing Director

David has been Managing Director of the Company since March 2017, leading the business through revenue growth of 95 per cent. between FY16 and FY19.

David has worked in the international wines and spirits industry for 21 years and has experience across brand development, commercial and distribution management. He has previously held senior general management and business development roles globally, including at Moet Hennessy, where he was Managing Director of MH Vietnam for three years and Business Development Director for Asia Pacific, Africa, Middle East & the Americas for five years with Glenmorangie/Ardbeg single Malt Scotch whisky, where he also worked in Global Travel Retail.

David is a liveryman of the Worshipful Company of Distillers.


Andrew Dane Executive Finance Director

Andrew Dane

Executive Finance Director

Andrew has been Finance Director of the Company since August 2020.

Andrew previously worked for eight years at KPMG transaction services in London, Edinburgh and Toronto. During this time he worked on over 100 transactions covering multiple sectors, business sizes and geographies, including five Scottish capital markets transactions.

Prior to joining the Company, Andrew was the Finance Director at Argent Energy, the high growth UK biodiesel producer, from 2014 to 2020. He helped increase the size of Argent Energy’s business from around 65 employees and approximately £50 million turnover in 2014 (following their 2013 acquisition by Swire) to around 350 staff and approximately £350 million turnover in 2020.


Mark Bedingham Non-Executive Director

Mark Bedingham

Non-Executive Director

Mark was appointed as a Director on 1 September 2015.
 
Mark spent 20 years as the Regional Managing Director of Moet Hennessy Asia-Pacific, spearheading the Asia-Pacific growth of Moet Hennessy’s portfolio of luxury wines and spirits, including Veuve Clicquot, Moet et Chandon, Hennessy, Cloudy Bay, Dom Perignon, Krug and Glenmorangie, turning the region into a major contributor to the Moet Hennessy Group’s global turnover and profit. During this time, he also spent seven years as a non-executive director of the DFS Group, a Hong Kong based travel retailer of luxury products with a network of duty-free stores in over 17 major airports.
 
Mark is the President and CEO of SMI, a company listed on the Singapore Stock Exchange. He is concurrently Executive Chairman of the hospitality group Iconic Locations which owns the CELAVI group with locations in five key cities in Asia Pacific; he is also a director and investor in the recently formed Straits BioPharma.
 
From 1997 to 2002, Mark was a director of Jardine Pacific, a subsidiary of Jardine Matheson, which represents a significant number of the Jardine Matheson Group’s non-listed interests in Asia, including in engineering and construction, consumer, transport services, restaurants and IT services.
 
More recently Mark is the Vice Chairman and part of the founder investor group in Aspirational Consumer Lifestyle Corporation, a SPAC, which is listed on the NYSE and has recently announced a business combination with Wheels Up, the leading private aviation company in the US. Aspirational (ASPL) has recently announced the filing of its second SPAC.

Gavin Hewitt (CMG) Non-Executive Director

Gavin Hewitt (CMG)

Non-Executive Director

Gavin was appointed as a Director on 27 March 2015.

Gavin was the Chief Executive of the Scotch Whisky Association from October 2003 to December 2013. In November 2011 Gavin was elected as president of spiritsEUROPE (previously The European Spirits Organisation – CEPS) and held this role in conjunction with his position at the Scotch Whisky Association.

Gavin was appointed to the Advisory Board of Pure Scot Limited in 2014 and later appointed non-executive chairman of Bladnoch Distillery Limited (2015 to 2017). He currently is also non-executive chairman of Findr Ltd, a digital platform serving as a market-place for professional photographers.

Before working in the alcohol industry, Gavin served in Her Majesty’s Diplomatic Service (1970-2003) and between 1994 and 2003 was successively Her Majesty’s Ambassador to Croatia, Finland and Belgium acquiring considerable expertise in international and EU trade matters and a close connection with many large UK companies operating overseas. He is a Companion of the Order of St Michael and St George (CMG), a Keeper of the Quaich and a liveryman of the Worshipful Company of Distillers.


Lesley Jackson Non-Executive Director and Chair of the Audit Committee

Lesley Jackson

Non-Executive Director and Chair of the Audit Committee

Lesley was appointed as a Director on 2 June 2021.

Lesley is a Chartered Accountant, having qualified with KPMG. She was the Group Chief Financial Officer for Stock Spirits PLC from 2011 to 2017, prior to which she held similar positions at William Grant & Sons, and at United Breweries (an Indian listed public company).

She is a non-executive director of Aberforth Split Level Income Trust plc and Devro plc (where she is appointed as the Senior Independent Director and Chair of the Audit Committee) and has served as a non-executive director of Trackwise Designs PLC (where she also chaired both the Audit and Remuneration Committees).

Lesley has extensive finance and business experience from her roles in international manufacturing businesses.


Helen Page Non-Executive Director and Chair of the Remuneration Committee

Helen Page

Non-Executive Director and Chair of the Remuneration Committee

Helen was appointed as a Director on 2 June 2021.

Helen has more than 25 years’ experience in marketing, innovation, consultancy and customer experience, including over 15 years in financial services. She joined Clydesdale Bank (now Virgin Money 35 UK) in December 2012 and was part of the Executive Team to complete the IPO of the bank in 2016. Helen is Chief Brand Officer of the bank.

Prior to joining Virgin Money UK, Helen spent 8 years at RBS in a number of roles. She became Managing Director for Marketing and Innovation and held responsibility for all UK brands across the Retail, Commercial and Corporate divisions.

Helen was also Head of Brand Marketing at Argos, where she re-launched the catalogue company as a retailer. Before Argos, Helen held a number of product and marketing roles at Abbey (now Santander), where she became Head of Marketing. She also has experience in research, consultancy and central government roles.

Helen is chair of Virgin Money Giving and a member of the Financial Services Advisory Board in Scotland.

Senior Leadership Team

Kai Ivalo Spirits Director

Kai Ivalo

Spirits Director

Kai joined the Group on 1 December 2004.

Since 2009, Kai has been responsible for spirits sourcing, maturation/product development, selection and bottling. Prior to joining the Group Kai spent 14 years in advertising, direct marketing agencies and marketing roles. Kai has a Bachelor of Arts in Business Studies, a Diploma in Marketing.

Kai is a Keeper of the Quaich and a liveryman of the Worshipful Company of Distillers.


Jan Damen Operations Director – Europe

Jan Damen

Operations Director – Europe

Jan joined the Group on 17 November 2003.

Jan has been with the Group for 17 years, and joined the board of directors of SMWS in 2015 in his current role. Jan has 25 years’ experience in the hospitality and leisure industry in hotels, fitness & wellbeing, and whisky & spirits.

Prior to joining the Group Jan was a Conference Manager with Intercontinental Hotels for four years, and a Leisure/Next Generation F&B Manager at David Lloyd for four years. Jan has a Bachelor of Arts in Hospitality.


Rebecca Hamilton Marketing & E-commerce Director

Rebecca Hamilton

Marketing & E-commerce Director

Rebecca joined the Group on 29 March 2021.

With 24 years of UK, international and global marketing leadership experience in ‘memory making’ brands, across leisure, hospitality and entertainment, Rebecca holds masters level qualifications in general, digital, direct and data marketing and is a fellow of the Chartered Institute of Marketing, the Institute of Direct Marketing and the Marketing Society.

Prior to joining the Group, Rebecca was based in London with The Jockey Club as Group Head of Marketing, and Merlin Entertainments as Global Head of Marketing, and other businesses, with a focus on membership growth.