Brewing giant Molson Coors is set to combine its UK & Ireland business with its recently acquired Central European operation.

Former UK & Ireland boss Mark Hunter will become chief executive of the new Molson Coors Europe. He left the UK in May to head up the Central European arm following the $3.5bn acquisition of rival brewer StarBev.

Current UK & Ireland chief Stewart Glendinning will move to replace Molson Coors’ Canada CEO, Dave Perkins, who is due to retire at the end of January. Simon Cox, previously MD (independent on-trade & wholesale), steps up to UK managing director.

A spokesman for Molson Coors told The Grocer Hunter – who led the UK and Ireland business since 2007 – was the obvious choice to lead the enlarged business.

“Mark has gained deep insight into the Central Europe business over the past few months and he brings extensive first-hand experience with the UK and Ireland,” he explained.

“It simply makes sense based on his knowledge of the markets and his strong management skills.”

Molson Coors Europe will account for 38% of the brewer’s global beer volumes and 30% of its total sales by value. The spokesman said the plan to merge the two operations had come about through its long-term planning that it does every year. But he said it was too early to say whether the move would result in any major changes in its supply chain or impact jobs.

“Over the coming months, our aim is to develop proposals on structures which we will share with employees and consult on in accordance with local legislation practices,” he added.