John Beard has been appointed chief executive officer of Whyte & Mackay and has already set out his stall to build the international presence of the whisky producer.

Beard, who replaces Ashwin Malik, joined the company on Monday after spending three years as UK chief executive officer of Bacardi Brown-Forman and several years in Eastern Europe as Bacardi’s regional director, specialising in the travel retail sector.

He said he had been impressed with Whyte & Mackay’s ­performance and its commitment to building whisky brands within the UK and internationally.

“There is no doubt Whyte & Mackay’s owner Dr Vijay Mallya is committed to the company as a whole, to building premium brands within the whisky category, and to expanding on this by making Whyte & Mackay a major international spirits company,” he said. “I am looking forward to doing my bit to help that become a reality.

“My predecessor Ashwin has done a terrific job and leaves behind an ambitious business and many friends in the Scotch whisky industry.”

The news follows a run of senior appointments for Whyte & Mackay, which was acquired by Indian billionaire Mallya’s UB Group in 2007 in a £595m deal.

In January, Whyte & Mackay appointed a new global sales and marketing director, Nick Garland.