Tom Slaven, retail director of United Wholesale Grocers and newly appointed Scottish Wholesale Association president.
Tom Slaven, retail director of United Wholesale Grocers and newly appointed Scottish Wholesale Association president.

Tom Slaven, retail director of Glasgow-based United Wholesale Grocers, has been elected president of the Scottish Wholesale Association (SWA) and will be appointed at the AGM on Tuesday, 18 June.

Succeeding Julie Dunn, operations director of Blantyre-based Dunns Food and Drinks who has held the position for six years, Tom has been a member of the SWA council for several years and brings a wealth of experience to the role of president having previously worked for drinks suppliers Anheuser-Busch and Asahi UK.

Tom said: “As a huge supporter of the SWA and its work over many years, both as a supplier and latterly as a wholesaler, it was a big moment for me when I was invited to join the board. But to be asked to take over Julie as president is an even bigger honour and I look forward to developing my predecessor’s groundbreaking work and putting my own stamp on the association.

“Replacing such a respected wholesale operator is slightly daunting but I know that Julie and the rest of the council – and chief executive Colin Smith – will support me as we work together to progress and build on the excellent work that SWA is doing across several key areas.”

Reiterating that the wholesale industry’s key strength is its people, he added: “The sector in Scotland is collaborative and innovative, driven by people who are ambitious and not afraid to take risks – and that’s what makes it such an exciting place to be. Our suppliers are also willing to work with us and share information, bolstering our industry and getting the message across that wholesale is an effective route to market.

“I also take inspiration from wholesale stalwart Eddie Lynagh, formerly of Booker, who served as SWA president on two occasions, and always stressed to me that without good people our industry would not thrive. Fast-forward to 2024 and our sector – both wholesalers and suppliers – is proof that people with drive, ambition and ideas can collectively ensure that wholesale continues to grow and make a significant contribution to the Scottish food and drink supply chain.”

Commenting on Tom’s appointment, Colin Smith said: “I’m delighted to welcome Tom Slaven as our new president, taking over from Julie Dunn whose sterling work over the last six years has helped SWA cement its position as relevant and focused trade association with its members and people at its core.

“We thank Julie for her hard work and commitment in the knowledge that Tom is an equally passionate advocate for our industry who has ideas of his own to help the SWA evolve as the association develops its existing interests and ventures into new areas, serving members on the many issues and challenges that affect our sector.”