In fairness, the article does report that he found the lay off of staff harrowing. I'm sure, however, he sleeps soundly, safe in the knowledge that he was only following orders! The truth is that if he hadn't taken responsibility, someone else would have.
It would be interesting to see if his actions have contributed to the strength that the industry currently enjoys or if his vision was mis-guided and by closing so many distilleries he/Diageo have actually set it back. I don't suppose we'll ever know.
One of the enduring facets of whisky is the romanticism associated with its production. Knarled old guys with new make in their veins, tossing malting barley over their monkied shoulders. The sad reality reveals a multi-national industry, nothing more nor less, and ultimately projected profit margins dictate the success or failure of a ditillery owned by a conglomerate. All we can do, sadly, is to keep buying the stuff, benefiting the money men who sit at the top of the food chain. It is a cruel and unjust world, but its the one we inhabit.
The alternative is to buy them out e.g. the 'laddie boys, Tullibardine, Edradour etc. However, few of us have the business sense ability and down right know-how, let alone funding, to undertake such a project. All the passion in the world will not keep a distillery open without sufficient backup.
And so men like our friend Mr Burns, control the fate of a whisky industry on the brink of a new age. Let us hope that they can combine a sense of history and passion when making future decisions about distilleries. After all, when its gone, its gone and it would take at least another decade to replace. In this fast changing world, who's going to wait that long?