The Portman Group appoints new chief executive

The Portman Group has announced the appointment of its new Chief Executive, Matt Lambert who will take up his post from January 2021.

Lambert has extensive experience in management and corporate affairs and is currently the chief executive of the Federation for Industry Sector, Skills and Standards. He has previously held senior roles at a number of large corporations including Microsoft and Betfair.

This year has seen the Portman Group make a series of senior appointments with Philip Rycroft announced as the new Chair over the summer and Nicola Williams taking over as Chair of the Independent Complaints Panel.

Rycroft, who led the search for the new Chief Executive, said: “I am delighted to announce the appointment of Matt Lambert as the new Chief Executive of the Portman Group. Matt is a fantastic hire who brings a wide range of experience and a great track record to the role.

“Matt joins the Portman Group at a critical time, not least as the industry faces up to the challenges arising from the impact of Covid-19. I look forward to working with him to shape the future of the Portman Group, to expand our membership and to work with the alcohol industry to deliver its social responsibilities.”

Matt’s appointment concludes a comprehensive search carried out following the resignation of current Portman Group Chief Executive John Timothy. Timothy informed the Council of his intention to step down earlier this year, while committing to remain in post to oversee a smooth and managed transition.

Outgoing chief executive Timothy has overseen the consultation and publication of the sixth edition of the Code of Practice on the Naming, Packaging and Promotion of Alcoholic Drinks, which was independently audited to show 95% compliance from the industry. He also secured agreement from members to include updated CMO guidance on labels and delivered an increase in membership with Asahi UK, Aston Manor, Campari, SHS Drinks and Thatcher’s cider all joining in 2020.

Rycroft added: “With Matt joining, we are saying goodbye to John who has been invaluable to the Group. He was brought in to refocus and enhance the organisation and has done so successfully; he should be immensely proud of the achievements made during his tenure and on behalf of all members, I’d like to thank him for all that he has done.”

Portman Group members were closely involved in the CEO selection process. Gordon Johncox, Chief Executive at Aston Manor Brewery, commented: “Matt was the unanimous choice to lead the Portman Group into the future and we look forward to working with him to maintain the UK’s respected high standards of self-regulation of the alcohol industry.”

Lambert said: “I am delighted to be joining the Portman Group at this critical time for the alcohol industry and sharing my vision and ambition for the organisation with the members and the team.

“The Group’s value to the alcohol sector is clear; it has a long and honourable history of effective regulation which has ensured the industry has always remained socially responsible, even in the face of major challenges. I look forwarding to being a part of shaping the sector and, more immediately, to celebrating 25 years of the Code, a key element in the Portman Group’s work.”

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