Richard Watling

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Alcohol badge.jpg This article is part of the Spinwatch public health oriented Alcohol Portal project.

Richard Watling has had a career long involvement in promoting tobacco and alcohol.


Watling attended Bedford School 1957 -1967 and gained a BA Honours Business Studies, Marketing and French, 1967 -1971 at City of London College.[1] Watling is 'an international marketing specialist' who 'has devoted most of his career to building premium brands such as Dunhill, Smirnoff and J&B in markets around the world, living at different times in Paris, Brussels and Hong Kong.' Much of his career - almost 20 years - has involved 'the development of Scotch Whisky within Diageo leading the management of its wide portfolio of brands and working with industry members to strengthen the protection of the designation Scotch Whisky and its related intellectual property.'[2]

Current activities

Watling left his job with Diageo following the controversy over Cardu 'Pure Malt'. The Sunday Herald reported in 2005 that:

Two of the whisky executives behind the Cardhu Pure Malt debacle 18 months ago are to leave their jobs at the world's largest drinks company, Diageo. Jonathan Driver, Diageo's global brand director for malts, and Richard Watling, its director of Scotch whisky portfolio brands, are to leave their jobs. Iain Kennedy, brand manager on the international blend J&B, is also leaving his post.
Driver and Watling are seen as having failed to foresee the powerful industry backlash to Diageo's decision to relaunch Cardhu as "Cardhu Pure Malt" during 2003. The debacle ended up being a major embarrassment for Diageo's chairman Lord Blyth. The rest of the Scotch whisky industry was united in its condemnation of Diageo's decision to reinvent Cardhu single malt as a "pure malt" - or blend of malts. This differs from blended whisky which is made by combining malts with distilled grain spirit.[3]



His wife Sarah and he 'are fortunate to have two children – Katie who is a hospital doctor in Bristol and Christopher an account manager at the advertising agency BBH. Born and brought up in Bedford there are too many interests to list, but his main ones are music, rowing, travel, fine wine and Porches – not of course all at the same time!'[4]


Publications, Contact, Resources and Notes






  1. Plaxo Richard Watling, accessed 16 November 2008
  2. Royal Warrant Holders Association The President - Richard Watling
  3. Whisky debacle executives to leave their jobs Cardhu trio 'being Sunday Herald, The, June 5, 2005 by Ian Fraser Financial Editor, accessed 16 November 2008
  4. Royal Warrant Holders Association The President - Richard Watling
  5. Royal Warrant Holders Association The President - Richard Watling