BWG, owner of the Spar and Mace franchises in the Republic of Ireland, has appointed a new managing director, Willie O'Byrne, currently head of the group's Mace division.

He replaces Peter Kealy, who has held the post for the past three years and was previously MD at Appleby Westward, the group's south-west of England wholesaler. Kealy is stepping down but will remain involved with BWG in an advisory capacity.

O'Byrne, who takes over the top job next week, worked with the group as a cash & carry director in the 1990s. He then left for a series of other jobs, with Irish Distillers, TransAer and, most recently, O2, before rejoining BWG last year.

Earlier this year O'Byrne outlined his strategy for independent retailers in a recession. "Cut costs but don't cut out investment, and that includes innovation, promotion and marketing spend," he said.