He replaces Alan McNaughton, who stepped down at SAMW’s recent AGM.
Bentley has a 30-year career in food retailing culminating in a senior management role in the Marks and Spencer Food Division, which included spells of responsibility for the organisation’s meat category.
More recently he joined Scotland’s largest meat processor, Scotbeef Ltd as a non-executive director, and is currently a board member of both Quality Meat Scotland and the British Meat Processors Association.
“The Scottish meat industry faces a lot of challenges, most of which are macro issues common to both farmers and processors alike,” said Bentley.
“Our most pressing priority is to deliver on our net zero targets whilst maintaining on-farm stock numbers, and the whole industry needs to stand together as we embark on this important journey. If I can help by leading SAMW within that context, then I will be delighted to do so.”
He said he was “optimistic” for the future of the Scottish meat industry.
“It’s easy to see all the challenges and problems, of course, but at the same time we have a terrific industry and terrific opportunities, both domestically and in relation to export potential,” he said.
“I look forward, therefore, to addressing both the challenges and opportunities facing our industry in the months and years ahead.”
Bentley joined SAMW’s Executive Council in 2021, contributing to the leadership of the organisation under the presidency of McNaughton.
“Alan has served SAMW as President with great distinction on two separate occasions, contributing hugely to the Association’s role within the Scottish meat industry,” said Bentley.
“We appreciate his work and commitment to SAMW over many years and thank him for his dedication to defending and enhancing meat sector interests in Scotland.”
At the beginning of this year SAMW said that having enough workers to keep businesses viable was 'the overwhelming concern' for meat wholesalers.