The Scottish Wholesale Association (SWA) has appointed Colin Smith as chief executive (designate), succeeding current executive director Kate Salmon who is retiring after leading the trade body for 35 years.
Smith, whose career in the wholesale sector spans more than 20 years, was Scottish regional manager for Bestway’s symbol group Best-one before launching his own business, the multi-award-winning Pinkie Farm Convenience Store in Musselburgh.
He previously worked for Bellevue Cash & Carry in Edinburgh in various marketing roles before moving to Costco Wholesale as marketing manager then returning to Bellevue, also as marketing manager. He was appointed to the Best-one position following the acquisition of Bellevue by Batley Wholesale in 2010.
Julie Dunn, president of the Scottish Wholesale Association, said: “Colin’s wide-ranging experience of the wholesale industry, spanning both foodservice and retail, plus his strengths in marketing, will bring depth and knowledge to our association as we support our members in times of change both within the trade and on the political landscape.
“Our role is to ensure a healthy, dynamic and relevant trade association,” she said. “Colin understands the many challenges facing our members and suppliers, and is ideally placed to take forward our work in promoting wholesale as a vibrant industry which offers great career opportunities.”
Smith said that an early priority would be to meet members and forge closer relationships with suppliers. “Wholesale provides suppliers with an excellent opportunity to tap into the strong route to market that our members’ independent retail and foodservice outlets customers offer – I want to get that message across loud and clear and I also want to hear their views so we can tailor our offer to specific sectors of our wholesale membership.”
Outgoing director Kate Salmon will work with Smith over the coming weeks to ensure a smooth handover before scaling back in the autumn to work for the SWA on a consultancy basis. “I am delighted that we have attracted an individual of Colin’s calibre,” she said.
“Colin will work with our members, suppliers and partners to drive the association forward and ensure that we are the forefront of discussions and debates around all the issues affecting the wholesale industry. Our collaborative approach will ensure that our members’ views are relayed to key decision-makers, giving us a louder voice at Holyrood and in the wider food and drink industry.”