Guinness pulls in Leverton to tackle anti-drink lobby

Guinness PLC has drafted in Mark Leverton from its subsidiary United Distillers (UD) to replace outgoing director of strategic affairs, Peter Mitchell.

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

Portman Group.



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.



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