Ms Hesketh-Laird was most recently acting chief executive of the Scotch Whisky Association (SWA) and brings her experience of representing the UK’s largest drink export to the salmon body which supports the UK’s largest food export.
She joins SSPO with a background in business representation, latterly with the SWA where she held various senior roles since 2005, helping to create the conditions for record Scotch whisky exports. Previously, she held strategy and policy roles in London and in Edinburgh with the CBI, the Chemical Industries Association and the water industry.
Reflecting on her appointment Ms Hesketh-Laird said: “I am delighted to have been appointed CEO of Scottish Salmon and to join Scotland’s most successful and important food sector. It is an exciting but challenging time for the development of the salmon industry and I look forward enormously to working with the industry and its stakeholders to help forge further sustainable growth.”
Chairman of the SSPO, Gilpin Bradley, said: “Julie will bring a wealth of experience and fresh leadership to the capable SSPO team. Her background in food and drink representation will be invaluable as we work with the Government and stakeholders to keep growing our successful industry. I would like to pay tribute to Scott Landsburgh’s decade in the role as SSPO CEO. We have valued his leadership and he leaves the organisation and industry in good health. We wish him well for his retirement.”
Ms Hesketh-Laird will take office on 19 February and will tour the industry to meet the salmon farming companies and see their operations before heading to the Seafood Expo North America in early March where the Scottish salmon industry has achieved significant export success, with sales to the USA worth around £200 million a year.