The Scotch Whisky Association (SWA) said its chief executive David Frost is leaving to take up a new role as foreign affairs special adviser to UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson.
Frost leaves the SWA on November 4 to join the UK’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO).
SWA deputy chief executive Julie Hesketh-Laird will act as CEO for an interim period before the appointment of a new CEO.
Hesketh-Laird joined the SWA in 2005 as director of operational & technical affairs.
Frost replaced Gavin Hewitt as SWA chief executive in January 2014.
Before joining the SWA, Frost was a career diplomat by profession and had held various senior roles in the FCO, including as British Ambassador to Denmark, and in the then Department of Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS).
Frost said: “I have thoroughly enjoyed my time as chief executive and I want to thank SWA members and my team for their support.
“Scotch Whisky is a wonderful industry to represent, vital to Scotland and to Britain, operating on a global scale, and held in affection by so many around the world.
“I leave the association and the industry well-placed to continue to succeed in a competitive market-place during a time of change, including Brexit.”
SWA chair Pierre Pringuet, vice-president of Pernod Ricard, said: “David has successfully modernised the association during a challenging time for the industry both economically and politically.
“We have very much valued his leadership and I am confident he leaves the SWA in a good position to face the future.”
Hesketh-Laird said: “We are sorry to see David leaving the SWA, but wish him well in his exciting future role.
“I look forward to leading the association for this transitional period and believe we have a great team to deal with whatever challenges face us.”
Before joining the SWA, Hesketh-Laird was Scottish adviser for the Chemical Industries Association and previously worked at the CBI in London.