Portman Group hires public health expert as CEO

Alcohol industry body The Portman Group has appointed one of Whitehall’s top “nudge theory” experts, Henry Ashworth, as its chief executive.

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Ashworth joins from the Cabinet Office’s Behavioural Insights Team, which is tasked with finding ways to realise the government’s preferred “nudge” approach to public health policy – helping people make the right choices for themselves rather than forcing them to through regulation.

His appointment comes as The Portman Group – funded by the industry’s nine biggest producers – steps up efforts to work in partnership with government to promote responsible consumption.

It has been coordinating the industry’s response to the Government’s responsibility deal with the industry. It recently wrote to producers to encourage implementation of the labelling commitments made as part of the alcohol industry’s responsibility deal with government.

A consultation to tighten its marketing code of practice will launch later this year.

Prior to the Cabinet Office, Ashworth led alcohol and obesity policy for two years as part of the “Better Regulation Executive” setup to analyse the effectiveness of current regulation.

He replaces David Poley who has stepped down after five years in the job. It is not yet known if he has a job to go to.

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