WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Distilled Spirits Council (DISCUS) at its summer Board of Directors meeting elected Clarkson Hine, Beam Suntory Senior Vice President of Corporate Communications and Public Affairs, as chair of the national trade association. Hine succeeds former Diageo North America President Deirdre Mahlan, who has chaired the Council since 2018.
Hine began his career in the spirits sector more than 20 years ago at Beam Suntory’s predecessor company, Fortune Brands. Before entering business, Clarkson served for seven years in senior communications positions working in U.S. Senate Leadership and on presidential campaigns.
Clarkson also serves as board chair of the International Alliance for Responsible Drinking and on the board of directors of Responsibility.org and the National Association of Manufacturers. For six months during 2018, he also served as DISCUS’ interim president & CEO.
“DISCUS member companies are extremely fortunate to have Clarkson lead the DISCUS board at this critical juncture for the spirits industry,” said Mahlan. “The current business environment will present many opportunities and challenges for the spirits industry. I am confident DISCUS will benefit from Clarkson’s direction and steady guidance as DISCUS leads the industry in navigating through these dynamic market conditions while remaining steadfast in our strong commitment to promoting responsibility and moderation.”
“I look forward to working with DISCUS President & CEO Chris Swonger, our member companies and the highly talented DISCUS team to proactively address and help shape this evolving new marketplace, advocate for equitable treatment for spirits companies and consumers, and create a more agile, stronger spirits industry,” said Hine. “On behalf of the DISCUS Board of Directors, I want to thank Deirdre for her strong leadership, strategic guidance and dedication to DISCUS over the past two years. During her time as chair, the industry marked continued market share gains, and DISCUS grew its craft distiller membership by nearly 100 members and held its first industrywide annual conference.”
The Board also appointed as vice chair, Matt Deegan, Constellation Brands Inc., Senior Vice President and Chief Sales Officer. Prior to joining Constellation Brands in 2016, Matt held a number of senior leadership roles in sales and marketing with increasing responsibility at Campari, Beam Suntory, and Southern Wine and Spirits.
During the meeting, the Board also elected DISCUS’ Chief Financial Officer Adrian Baxter as Treasurer. Adrian has been with DISCUS for over 20 years, serving in various roles on the accounting and finance team.
The board re-elected DISCUS Chief Legal Officer, Courtney Armour, to serve as the Board’s Corporate Secretary. Previously with the law firm of Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati, Armour was a member of the firm’s antitrust group where she represented clients on competition matters in complex litigation, merger advocacy, product innovation and business counseling, and both domestic and foreign government investigations.
GRAPHIC: Recent DISCUS Board appointments