The Brewers Association of Australia has announced John Preston as its new Chief Executive Officer, replacing Brett Heffernan who left in August after three-and-a-half years in the role.
Brewers Association Chairman, Peter Filipovic, said that Preston was selected after an extensive and competitive nationwide recruitment process and that he will commence on 4 January 2021.
“On behalf of the Board, we are thrilled to welcome John to lead the Brewers,” Filipovic said.
“John has a demonstrated track record of creating and communicating compelling visions and strategies. He is well known in the corridors of Federal, State and Territory Parliaments and brings to the Brewers a wealth of experience in both politics and the private sector, including the drinks industry.”
Most recently Preston was the General Manager of Corporate Affairs at AusNet Services. He has also held senior roles at BHP and Pernod Ricard and has worked in various senior political roles across Federal and State Government.
Filipovic added: “John will have carriage of the regulatory agenda of Australia’s biggest alcohol category. Domestically brewed beer underpins $16 billion of economic activity, employs 100,000 people and is home to some of Australia’s most loved and revered brands.
“Australian brewers make a substantial contribution to Australian jobs and the national economy, from manufacturing to our significant footprint in Australian agriculture, to transport, and to hotels, hospitality and retail in almost every town and city in the country.”
Remarking on his appointment, Preston said: “I am extremely grateful and absolutely delighted to have been given this opportunity to help support the continued success of the Australian brewing industry.
“The Brewers Association of Australia’s members have been leaders in promoting responsible drinking, building world class Australian brands and innovating to reduce their environmental footprint. It will be a privilege to work with the Brewers members and their partners in the hospitality, agriculture and manufacturing sectors.
“I particularly look forward to joining the Brewers at a time when it is so critical that we do all we can to support hospitality and all our other partners. Getting the tax and policy settings right for the brewing industry will help all our partners and provide a stimulus effect for the broader hospitality industry.
“The hugely positive trends in responsible consumption we have seen over recent years clearly means that it makes sense now to ease the cost of living pressure on Australian drinkers by reducing the beer tax – currently the 4th highest in the developed world.
“Having worked in the alcohol beverage sector before in Australia I know it is full of passionate, committed and convivial people. I look forward to reconnecting with many of my former colleagues in this sector and working with everyone who has made it such a success.”
Filipovic said: “John will work closely with our industry partners, including the Australian Hotels Association, Clubs Australia, Alcohol Beverages Australia, and Retail Drinks Australia, as well as the broader drinks industry.”