The UK alcohol industry’s social responsibility body have appointed John Timothy as Chief Executive.

John joins the Portman Group at a time when drinks companies are strengthening their efforts to reduce alcohol-related harms, through robust self-regulation of alcohol marketing and with effective local partnerships that help create safe and vibrant night time economies.  Official statistics show notable declines in alcohol misuse in the last decade and the Portman Group’s members are committed to supporting this positive progress.

John Timothy joins after ten years at Tesco where he held a number of senior roles in communications and public affairs, working across the UK, Brussels and international operations.

He replaces Henry Ashworth, who stepped down in December 2016 to take up the post of President of the International Alliance for Responsible Drinking (IARD).

Sir Martin Narey, Chairman of the Portman Group said:

“I am delighted that John is joining us as we look to strengthen our efforts to tackle alcohol-related harms and foster a balanced understanding of alcohol in our society. The Portman Group’s members have led the way on alcohol responsibility and I’m confident that John’s experience and leadership will make an important contribution as we seek to build on the significant progress made in recent years.”

John Timothy said:

“I am delighted to be joining The Portman Group – a highly respected regulator and a leader in industry social responsibility. It is clear to me that the industry’s approach is having a positive impact with falling levels of alcohol misuse across the UK. We will strive to ensure that continues to be the case and I look forward to working closely with Portman Group members, and partners from all sectors, to help support these positive cultural changes and to tackle alcohol-related harms.”

John will take over as Chief Executive on 19 June 2017.


John joins the Portman Group as Chief Executive in mid-June following a ten year stint with Tesco. During this time he has held a number of senior roles in communications and public affairs, working across the UK, Brussels and international operations. Most recently he has been leading Tesco’s Group response to Brexit, working with senior business leaders to analyse the key risks, shape the business response and engage Government on its priorities for the forthcoming negotiations. He also leads on Tesco’s broader EU engagement and International government relations and sits on the CBI’s International Advisory Group and the BRC’s EU Strategy Group. Prior to this, he spent nearly three years leading the UK Government Relations team, building deeper links across Westminster and Whitehall, growing trust and confidence in the brand, and making Tesco’s voice heard on critical issues including business rates reform and the public health responsibility deal. From 2011 to 2013 John led the Tesco regional communications team in London and the South East, managing the relationships with local councillors, media and community groups. Before this, he was the Asia lead for corporate affairs, supporting the operations in five markets with their communications and public affairs engagement, as well representing the Group to key UK-based stakeholders such as Chatham House, UKTI, the China-Britain Business Council and Asia House. John began his career working in parliament for the former Conservative MP, Anne McIntosh. He also spent 18 months at Britain-Israel Communications and Research Centre (BICOM) before joining Tesco.