Scotland Food & Drink hires Iain Baxter as CEO

Iain Baxter

Former whisky executive Iain Baxter has been announced as the new chief executive of industry leadership body Scotland Food & Drink.

With a membership of more than 400 businesses, Scotland Food & Drink is the voice of the £15 billion industry.

“With more than 15 years’ experience within Scotch whisky at Glenmorangie, Inver House, International Beverage, and latterly Ian Macleod Distillers, Iain brings a deep understanding of Scotland’s food and drink industry from a new perspective,” said Scotland Food & Drink.

“Iain will start on Monday 31 October, with John Davidson — who is currently deputy CEO and strategy director — acting as interim until then.

“As well as his roles within the sector, Iain has held senior change management roles within housing associations and senior leadership in the rail industry.

“Between 2015 and 2018, he was sales and marketing director at the Caledonian Sleeper.”

Baxter, who has an MBA from the University of Dundee, will take over from James Withers who, in May this year, announced his departure after 11 years at the helm of the organisation.

Lucinda Bruce-Gardyne, founder of Genius Foods and chair of Scotland Food & Drink, said:“Following a rigorous search process led by Carlyle, Iain stood out as the ideal candidate to take Scotland Food & Drink into the next chapter of the organisation.

“Iain’s experience leading change across industries will be invaluable as we face up to harsh macro-economic realities that face our and every other area of the economy.

“In his whisky career, Iain championed Scotland’s national drink around the world, and will help us fulfil our ambition to promote Scotland globally as a land of food and drink.”

Baxter said: “I am delighted to be joining Scotland Food & Drink at this dynamic time in our national food and drink story.

“We will of course face domestic and global challenges; not least the economic and environmental headwinds, which cannot be underestimated.

“However, with the enviable strength of our national food and drink brand, rooted in the passion and commitment of everyone involved in the sector, I am confident that Scotland is well positioned for strong growth.

“I am excited to be working with a great team, with our members, our industry partners and the Scottish Government to ensure we take full advantage of the opportunities that lie ahead.”