Lion, Australia's biggest brewer, has appointed Stuart Irvine as its chief executive designate after the decision by long-serving boss Rob Murray to step down from the beer and dairy foods company in 2013.
Mr Irvine is currently CEO of Nestle Russia and Eurasia – a $2 billion beverage and food business with 10,000 people, 14 production sites and multiple business models.
Mr Murray announced earlier this year his intention to leave the Japanese-owned brewer with Lion now the biggest seller of beer in Australia thanks to the growing popularity of its domestic beers such as XXXX Gold and Toohey's, as well as Mexican beer Corona which it recently won the local distribution rights to.
Replacing him from January will be Mr Irvine who has moved into various managing director and CEO roles within Nestle across the UK, Ireland, Netherlands, Poland and the Baltics, before taking up his current position in Russia.
Lion chairman Sir Rod Eddington said: “I am delighted to welcome Stuart to Lion. Stuart’s extensive experience in fast moving consumer goods across a diverse range of markets and complex business models will be an asset to Lion.”
Mr Irvine said he was passionate about building brands.
“As the leading food and beverage businesses in Australasia, Lion provides the ideal mix of opportunity and challenge in an exciting and continuously evolving market.”
Apart from beer Lion is also a large player in the dairy industry, with a portfolio of milk and dairy drink brands.