FORMER Diageo boss Bryan Donaghey last night emerged as the new chief executive of rival Whyte & Mackay – just weeks after leaving Scotland’s biggest whisky distiller.
Donaghey replaces John Beard, whose departure from the Glasgow-based Scotch producer was confirmed last month.
Whyte & Mackay has so far given no explanation for the departure of Beard, who had joined the company in 2009.
In July, Diageo – which owns brands including Bell’s J&B and Johnnie Walker – became the biggest shareholder in India drinks tycoon Vijay Mallya’s United Spirits, Whyte & Mackay’s parent company.
The deal promoted the Office of Fair Trading to launch a “call for evidence” to explore whether the move would effect competition in the Scotch market. Mallya bought Whyte & Mackay in 2007 for nearly £600 million. Industry website Just-Drinks revealed that Donaghey took up his new position on Monday with Whyte & Mackay, which also owns the Dalmore and Jura single malt brands along with whisky liqueur Glayva.
The firm’s other assets include blended whiskies Claymore and John Barr, vodka brand Vladivar, a grain distillery at Invergordon and malt distilleries at Fettercairn and Tamnavulin.
Whyte & Mackay said: “Bryan has a wealth of experience within the whisky industry, having previously worked with Diageo and as a leading figure within the Scotch Whisky Association.”
Donaghey’s departure from Diageo had only come to light earlier this week.
He had been managing director of Diageo Scotland until a restructuring unveiled in March, under which 80 jobs were lost across 50 sites and Diageo’s Scottish operations came under the control of its Edinburgh-based international supply centre.
Donaghey went from being Diageo’s Europe supply director to its supply strategy director before his departure from the FTSE 100 group.
Diageo declined to comment on Donaghey’s appointment, having earlier this week said that he had “severed” his employment with the company.