AG Barr finance chief swaps Irn-Bru for Edrington

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Irn-Bru maker AG Barr has started the search for a new finance director after Alex Short called time on his role to join whisky distiller Edrington.

Short, who has been with the Cumbernauld-based soft drinks group for almost six years, is a veteran of the whisky industry, having previously spent 12 years at William Grant & Sons.

Barr chairman Ronnie Hanna said: “Alex has been an important member of our management team and board during his time with us.

“We would like to thank him for his significant contribution in that time and wish him well in his move back into the spirits industry with Edrington.”

Short is expected to leave in August to take up his new position at Glasgow-based Edrington, which owns the Cutty Sark, Famous Grouse, Highland Park and The Macallan brands.

Chief executive Ian Curle said: “He brings a wealth of experience of financial directorship as well as knowledge of the drinks industry from his time at AG Barr and William Grant & Sons. He will be an important member of our board and I look forward to working with him.”

Short, who last year joined East Kilbride-based five-a-side football pitch operator Goals Soccer Centres as a non-executive director, replaces Richard Hunter, who is retiring after 33 years with privately-owned Edrington, including two decades as group finance director.

Curle said Hunter had been “instrumental” in the growth of Edrington, with a career that spanned “transformative” deals including the acquisition in 1999 of Highland Distillers and the purchase of a majority stake in rum producer Brugal in 2008.

In November, the firm announced it would be spending £100 million to replace its distillery and visitor centre at the Macallan estate on Speyside.

Barr, led by chief executive Roger White, is aiming to grow its share of the market south of the Border after reporting a 9.6 per cent rise in annual profits to £38.1m as sales were lifted by last summer’s heatwave. The group pulled the plug on a proposed £1.9 billion merger with rival Britvic in July.