September 19, 2013 – Bryan Donaghey didn’t need more than a few days to land a new job after leaving his post at Diageo. The former head of Diageo’s Scottish operations was reassigned to a new role in the company’s global supply unit earlier this year, and his departure became public knowledge this week.
Now, Just-Drinks.com reports that Donaghey has been named the new CEO at Whyte & Mackay, where he will replace John Beard. Beard held the role for little more than a week in August before departing, with no public reason given. Donaghey has been a fixture in the Scotch Whisky industry for many years, and arrives at Whyte & Mackay at a time when the company is in transition.
In fact, his appointment may be seen by some as curiously timed. The UK’s Office of Fair Trading is still reviewing Diageo’s acquisition of Whyte & Mackay owner United Spirits earlier this year. Diageo has pledged to the OFT that it would have no influence on Whyte & Mackay while the review is underway, but the sudden departure of a top Diageo whisky executive to Whyte & Mackay may raise some red flags with regulators. The OFT is looking at whether adding Whyte & Mackay into Diageo’s extensive Scotch Whisky portfolio would create competition issues, primarily in the grain whisky sector, and could recommend that all or part of the unit be divested to resolve those concerns.
This story will be updated as more information becomes available.