Dairy giant Murray Goulburn (MG) has appointed SABMiller's local managing director as its new chief executive officer commencing in mid-February.


Ari Mervis has served as SABMiller's MD of Asia Pacific and CEO of Carlton & United Breweries in Melbourne since 2011, and has been with the world’s second largest brewer for 27 years.


Mervis has had responsibility for overseeing businesses across Asia Pacific including China, India, Vietnam, South Korea and Australia, and he held other senior positions with SABMiller in South Africa, Swaziland, Russia and Hong Kong.


The move follows the recently concluded global AB InBev/SAB Miller merger, with AB InBev executives moving into leadership positions.


Mervis, who will take up his role as MG's chief executive officer and managing director on 13 February next year, said he saw it as an “enormous privilege to lead such an iconic business”.


“Murray Goulburn is a great company, with a long and proud history. I am looking forward to partnering with MG’s dairy farmers, employees, customers and stakeholders to restore this great Australian co-operative, as we adapt to the challenges and opportunities facing the dairy industry globally.”


MG chairman Philip Tracy said the appointment was in line with the board’s desire for a CEO with extensive operations and consumer goods experience.


“After a comprehensive international search, the board unanimously agreed that Ari was the ideal choice to lead MG at this critical juncture in its history. We are delighted to have secured a candidate with a proven track record of delivering results and operational success across multiple geographies,” Tracy said.


Tracy also paid tribute to interim CEO, David Mallinson, who was appointed earlier this year following the sudden departure of Gary Helou.


“As interim CEO, David has led MG with conviction and discipline during an exceptionally challenging period, focussing on the twin priorities of MG’s value-add strategy and achieving significant cost efficiencies to support stronger farmgate milk pricing for MG’s suppliers.


“On behalf of the Board, suppliers and all at MG, I would like to thank David for his tremendous professionalism and commitment to a smooth leadership transition, after which we will agree with him his next steps.”

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