Will Payne

General Counsel

Will Payne Profile Picture

Will is General Counsel, USA for William Grant & Sons. A graduate of Edinburgh University’s law school, Will worked in private practice with McGrigors in the UK (now part of the international firm Pinsent Masons) and KPMG UK before he moved in-house. A qualified Solicitor (admitted in Scotland) and a Notary Public, Will has a postgraduate diploma in Competition Law (Kings College, London) and an MBA with distinction from Glasgow’s University of Strathclyde. While at KPMG, Will qualified as a UK tax adviser and retains his membership of the Association of Taxation Technicians. Will is an experienced in-house legal counsel with nearly 12 years’ experience working as a lawyer in the drinks industry with Scottish & Newcastle plc, Heineken UK and William Grant & Sons.

During Will’s career, he has led the legal work on a number of deals including the acquisition of the Drambuie brand for William Grant & Sons, the purchase of the Tuthilltown distillery for William Grant & Sons in the US, the acquisition of the Caledonian Brewing Company for Heineken UK and the creation of a GBP35m full function joint venture, Universal Beverages Limited for Heineken. As well as concluding numerous international drinks distribution contracts across the globe, he also negotiated and concluded contracts relating to Heineken UK’s sponsorship of London’s 2012 Olympic Games and William Grant & Sons’ sponsorship of the 2015 Rugby World Cup.

Well versed in contract negotiation, litigation management and implementing legal compliance programs (e.g. antitrust, anti-bribery and corruption, data protection etc.), Will also advises on intellectual property protection and employment matters.

Will has served as a director and/or company secretary on a number of operating boards within the Heineken’s UK business and at William Grant & Sons where he is currently a director and officer of William Grant & Sons, Inc (WG&S’s main operating company in the USA).

He lives with his wife and four children in New Jersey, USA and, when not working, he’s a keen musician in his spare time.