Rob Pickering has been named the new sales and marketing director for Harrogate Water Brands.

Pickering joins from Diageo, where he was regional director of Diageo Wines Europe. He has 24 years’ experience in the drinks industry.

During his time at Diageo, Pickering launched Californian wine Blossom Hill into UK grocery. He also held the roles of channel director for convenience and travel retail, channel director for the impulse channel, and business manager for Asda.

“Rob knows the drinks industry inside-out, and his experience will help us expand into new markets both in the UK and abroad,” said Harrogate Water Brands MD James Cain.

“It’s a fantastic time to be joining the bottled water market, and we are in a really healthy position with the opening of our state-of-the-art £8m bottling facility,” he added.

“Our focus will be on developing our brands with like-minded partners through targeted sales and marketing activity. Rob will be responsible for continuing to consolidate Harrogate Spring’s position, as well as continuing to grow Thirsty Planet within the charity water sector.”

Pickering said: “This year was a ground-breaking year for Harrogate Water Brands, and next year is likely to be even bigger as the business cements its position as the largest British-owned bottled water company.”

Meanwhile, Sophie Councell joins the company as a national account manager. She was previously at Britvic for eight years.