ROB Murray, the outgoing boss of Australia's largest brewer, Lion, has been appointed a non-executive director of the Japanese-owned beverage company.
Mr Murray will join the Lion board next April. He originally joined the former Lion Nathan board in 2002 as a non-executive director, before being appointed chief executive in October 2004.
"Stepping down as CEO was a difficult decision to make. However, it was the right time for me personally and for Lion," he said.
"While my role has changed, my passion for Lion has not . . . I feel privileged to continue my involvement by returning to the Lion board as a director."
Lion chairman Sir Rod Eddington said Mr Murray's expertise would be valuable to the board and enable a smooth transition as the company welcomed Stuart Irvine as the new chief executive from January 3.
Mr Irvine was in charge of Nestle's operations in the former Soviet Union. He will lead Lion, owned by Japanese conglomerate Kirin, as it looks to bed down the inclusion of a string of new beer brands in its portfolio, including Australia's most popular imported beer, Corona.
Lion has also poached brewing contracts for Guinness and Stella Artois from Foster's.
Lion is a large player in the dairy industry, with a portfolio of brands including Pura milk, King Island cheese and Yoplait yoghurt.