A beer expert is going to run Murray Goulburn

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Ari Mervis, a former senior executive at SABMiller, the world’s second largest brewer, is the next CEO of Murray Goulburn, the largest dairy processor in Australia.

The South African, a former managing director of SABMiller in the Asia Pacific and CEO of Carlton & United Breweries in Melbourne, starts February 13.

He comes to a company hit by a global milk glut. Revenue was down 3.3% in 2016 to $2.8 billion.

The previous CEO Gary Helou announced his departure in April at the same time as a profit downgrade and cuts to the price paid to farmers for their milk.

The company’s shares have been hit hard. They last traded at 93.5 cents, well below a 12 month high of $2.95.

“I am extremely pleased to be joining MG (Murray Goulburn) and see it as an enormous privilege to lead such an iconic business that plays an important role in the daily lives and livelihoods of so many Australians,” says Mervis.

“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.”

Mervis, who had a 27 year career at SABMiller, left after the company was taken over by Anheuser-Busch InBev in September.

His base pay at Murray Goulburn will be $1.5 million, plus long and short term incentives.

Philip Tracy, the chairman of Murray Goulburn Cooperative , paid tribute to interim CEP David Mallinson.

“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,” says Philip.

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