Guinness PLC has drafted in Mark Leverton from its subsidiary
United Distillers (UD) to replace outgoing director of strategic
affairs, Peter Mitchell.
Leverton, currently external affairs director at UD Asia, takes up the
Guinness post in June under the new title of director, alcohol and
social policy. He will be the frontman on all issues related to alcohol
from under-age drinking to alcohol abuse.
His hiring was prompted by Mitchell’s retirement in July after ten years
as Guinness’ director of strategic affairs. Mitchell, a one time
director of marketing for Guinness Brewing, built a strategic affairs
team of six.
He is also an architect of the drink industry’s self-regulating body The
Outside the UK, he has helped establish similar organisations like The
Amsterdam Group in Europe and The Century Council in the USA.
According to Guinness head of media relations Murray Loake the job remit
will remain the same: to ensure ’a balanced view’ is heard on alcohol
issues by talking to consumers, the Government and lobbying groups.
’You are trying to have a dialogue with people who will tell you alcohol
is bad for you and brings you personal and medical problems,’ explained
Loake. ’We need to ensure the critics don’t have a field day and give
our view that moderate drinking is good for you.’
Leverton has worked for Guinness before. Like Mitchell he joined the
company in 1987 as its first head of government affairs.
He set up Guinness’ Brussels-based government affairs office in 1991
before moving to the United Distillers job which involves dealing with a
range of marketing, taxation and duty issues.