InterContinental Brands has appointed former Gaymer Cider Company chief John Mills as its new managing director.

Mills joins from Constellation Europe, where he was senior vice-president of European sales. He was previously senior vice-president of European off-trade sales for the wine group before a stint with cider maker Gaymer as managing director.

His replacement at Constellation has yet to be announced.

“This is a major appointment and very much in line with our strategy and vision for the company,” said InterContinental founder Paul Burton.

“John is a senior figure in the industry [and] has just the energy, high-level expertise, leadership qualities and focus that will most assist us in driving our business on to the next level.”

Mills said he was looking forward to taking on a more hands-on role in a smaller company, adding: “There is room for much more innovation in the drinks sector, which hasn’t seen anything like as much NPD as food.”