The Portman Group appoints first independent chairman

The Portman Group, the alcohol industry marketing body, has appointed Seymour Fortescue as its first external chairman.

Previous chairs of the Portman Group came from the pool of nine member drinks companies, including Bacardi-Martini, Beverage Brands and Diageo, which fund the organisation.

The new position is designed to provide independent leadership on marketing and social responsibility standards for drinks producers.

Fortescue has held senior positions in marketing, regulation and health promotion across the private, voluntary and public sectors.

For seven years he was chief executive of the Banking Code Standards Board, the only remaining self-regulatory body in retail financial services.

Previously he has been chief executive of the Health Education Authority, chief executive of Barclaycard and head of marketing for Barclays Bank, where he spent 26 years.

He said he is looking forward to working with other groups to build a consensus around actions that promote responsible attitudes to alcohol.

“I firmly believe that self-regulation based on a tough code of practice that is rigorously monitored and enforced is the right way forward,” Fortescue said.

Its outgoing and last chairman from the industry, Mark Hunter, the chief executive of Molson Coors Brewing Company, said his successor combines “excellent leadership skills with a great blend of self-regulatory, commercial, Whitehall and media experience”.

“His knowledge and experience will be a tremendous asset to the Portman Group as alcohol producers continue to strengthen industry standards,” Hunter said.

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