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SWA Leadership Team

Karen Betts, Chief Executive

Karen Betts, Chief Executive

Karen Betts was appointed as CEO of the SWA in May 2017, after a 16-year career in the Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO).

Karen held a variety of posts in London and overseas with the FCO.  Most recently, she was British Ambassador in Morocco.  She was also Counsellor to the British Embassy in Washington, and held roles at the UK's Permanent Representation to the EU in Brussels and the British Embassy in Baghdad.  In London, she served in the Cabinet Office and the Joint Intelligence Committee, as well as in a variety of roles in the Foreign Office.

Prior to joining the FCO, Karen worked as a lawyer to Clifford Chance in London and Hong Kong.  She studied law at the College of Law in Guildford and history at St Andrews University.  Karen is a member of the CBI's International Trade and Investment Council, a member of the Scottish Enterprise's Enterprise and Skills Strategic Board, and a Trustee of Raleigh International.


Alan Park, Director - Legal

Alan Park, Director of Legal Affairs

Alan Park joined the SWA in 2003 as legal counsel and became Director of Legal Affairs in 2016. 

His principal role is to lead the legal team in its objective of protecting the geographical indication, Scotch Whisky, from unfair competition across the world.

Alan is a member of the European Communities Trademark Association's Geographical Indications Committee and he sits on the EU Group of the Organisation for an International Geographical Indications Network (OriGin).

Prior to joining the SWA, he was a litigation partner with a Glasgow law firm.


John Bartholomew, Director - Corporate Services

John Bartholomew, Director of Corporate Services

John Bartholomew has worked for the SWA since 1993.  He became Director of Finance and Company Secretary in 2004 and since January 2017 has been Director of Corporate Affairs.

He is a member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland and the Institute of Chartered Secretaries.

His responsibilities coverall financial matters, HR and payroll, pension and other benefits, Edinburgh office management and the Company Secretarial duties.


Dagmar Droogsma, Director of Industry

Dagmar Droogsma, Director of Industry

Dagmar Droogsma has more than 25 years' experience in the UK, for professional bodies such as the RICS, the UK government, and in the Netherlands, as a lawyer and for Dutch government.

She has developed high-profile policies and legislation and negotiated complex agendas nationally as well as in the EU and UN.

In her last role for the Department for the Environment, Food & Rural Affairs, she was responsible for pulling together DEFRA's position for the EU exit negotiations as well as negotiating this as a member of the UK's negotiation team.


Graeme Littlejohn, Deputy Director of Strategy & Communication

Graeme Littlejohn, Director of Strategy & Communication

Graeme Littlejohn joined the SWA in 2015 and was appointed Director in March 2019.  

Prior to joining the SWA, he served as Head of Office to the Chief Secretary of the Treasury at HM Treasury and has previously held posts in the Scottish Parliament, European Parliament and Westminster.

Graeme has a Masters in International Relations from the University of St Andrews and spent 2013 working in rural Uganda on development projects as a Trustee of an education charity.


Peter Clark, Deputy Director of Industry

Peter Clark, Deputy Director of Industry

Peter Clark joined the SWA in 2001 after spending seven years as a secondary school teacher.  He leads the SWA's work on energy policy, HM Revenue and Customs compliance and infrastructure.  

He joined the SWA's leadership team in 2018 taking up the role of Deputy Director in the Industry team.  He is also a Director of the Spirits Energy Efficiency Company which manages the UK spirit drink sectors' Climate Change Agreement scheme.

Peter enjoys canoeing, walking, skiing and following the fortunes of Macclesfield Town FC


Lindesay Low, Deputy Director of Legal Affairs

Lindesay Low, Deputy Director of Legal Affairs

Lindesay Low joined the SWA in 2001 and became Deputy Director of Legal Affairs in 2018.  He assists Alan in leading the Legal team and has particular responsibility for its work in Asia-Pacific and the Americas.

He is a Scottish qualified solicitor and accredited by the Law Society of Scotland as a Specialist in Intellectual Property Law.  He is a member of the Law Society of Scotland's Intellectual Property Sub-Committee and the Unfair Competition Committee of the International Trademark Association.


Martin Bell, Deputy Director of International

Martin Bell, Deputy Director of Trade

Martin Bell joined the SWA in 2004 and has specialised in external trade policy throughout, with a particular geographic focus on the Asia-Pacific region.  He leads the SWA's engagement with the World Trade Organisation and has extensive experience of its standing mechanisms, up to and including dispute settlement  He has chaired the External Trade Committee of spiritsEUROPE since 2010 and sits on a wide range of broader industry trade policy groupings, such as the ICC UK's Trade and Investment Committee and the Law Society of Scotland's Trade Policy Working Group.

After starting working life as a solicitor in private practice, and a subsequent spell with the European Commission's DG Environment in Brussels, he joined the Scottish Office in 1997.  He worked there for seven years in a range of fields, latterly on a three year secondment to the Policy Unit of the Scottish Council for Development and Industry.

Martin holds an LLB Honours Degree in Scots Law from the University of Edinburgh and an LLM in European and International Trade Law from the Vrije Universiteit Brussel.  He has also tutored European Law at the University of Edinburgh.


Tom Sallis, Deputy Director - EU and Brexit

Tom Sallis, Deputy Director of EU and Brexit

Tom Sallis joined the SWA in 2015 and is responsible for leading our work on EU and Brexit. Since the vote to leave the EU, Tom has helped coordinate the response of the Scotch Whisky industry to the challenges posed by Brexit, working closely with producers to support their contingency planning efforts.

Brexit aside, Tom is responsible for advancing our EU policy priorities on issues such as the spirit drinks regulation, labelling and taxation. Prior to joining the SWA, Tom worked for the CBI in Brussels, specialising on free trade agreements, single market policy and employment law. Tom holds a BSc in Economics and International Development from Bath and an MSc in Political Economy from the LSE.