Immediate Past Master

Richard Watling

Richard Watling

Richard Watling

Richard has enjoyed a 25-year career in the wine and spirits trade and industry. After completing his degree in Business Studies, Marketing and French at the City of London College, he started business life with Rothmans in Brussels in 1971. He progressed through market management and business development in new ventures, which took him around the globe, before completing his time there as UK Marketing Director.

He joined the spirits industry running International Marketing at Hiram Walker shortly before its acquisition by Allied Lyons, whereupon he became the first Marketing Director of Allied Distillers on the formation of their Scotch interests merging Ballantines, Teachers, Stewarts and James Burroughs in Scotland. He joined IDV in 1992 in Europe, before moving to Hong Kong to be General Manager of North Asia. This was a golden period of growth as he created a joint venture in China, entered Korea as the Scotch business boomed and created new businesses in Burma and Vietnam.

Returning to the UK as Diageo was formed, he became Chief Executive of Justerini and Brooks, growing J&B in global markets. In the last phase of his time in the Industry, he led the Diageo brand portfolio as Scotch Whisky Director into a new age of premium growth, especially in the USA, Asia and Latin America. External affairs became increasingly important as he represented Diageo on the SWA Council through the drafting of the new Scotch Whisky Act, became the Chairman of the Keepers of the Quaich and the Royal Warrant Holder for Johnnie Walker. Perhaps the most satisfying moment was leading the Diamond Jubilee Appeal as Chairman of the Queen Elizabeth Scholarship Trust and doubling the value of their craftsmens’ awards in the year.

Always busy, he has many outside interests, in classic sports cars (particularly Porsche) and aviation at the Fairford International Air Tattoo. He loves exploring, classical music, languages, history and good food among many other interests. An additional pleasure is in managing the newly inaugurated affiliation with 702 NAS in Yeovilton. Richard and his wife Sarah have two children and they have recently moved to the Cotswolds.


Car Club visit to Dedham Vale

As befits our reputation as the social club of the Distillers who happen to enjoy messing about in cars, the DCC was chosen to lead this event to Essex and Suffolk...

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Master’s Blog – August

Many people say the City, like the French, go on holiday for the whole of August. The International Wine and Spirit Competition tasting, at the end of July at Vintners’ Hall,...

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Worshipful Company of Distillers Crest

The Worshipful Company of Distillers

The Worshipful Company of Distillers is a Livery Company of the City of London dating back to the reign of King Charles I.

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Master’s Blog – July

Probably the highlight of the month was the RAF 100 flypast. A number of us had been up to RAF Honington the previous week and Air Marshal Sir David Walker asked...

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