The CEO of C&C Group has resigned because the Irish drinks company "has not met the expectations" of a repositioning strategy.

Maurice Pratt confirmed today (9 October) that he is to stand down from the position after seven years leading the company. Pratt will continue in the role until a new CEO is appointed.

C&C, which owns Magners cider, also announced it would begin an "in-depth review" of its strategy in the UK.

"The past two years have been very challenging for C&C Group and despite our best efforts we have not achieved our ambitions for the business" Pratt said. "As chief executive, I have to be accountable and take responsibility for business performance. The company has to take important strategic choices and I have therefore decided it is time to stand aside and allow a new CEO to bring fresh thinking and impetus to the business."

The announcement comes on the same day that C&C posted flat operating profit on falling sales for the six months to the end of August.

Operating profit for the period hit EUR66.5m (US$91.1m), 0.7% down on the corresponding six months a year earlier. Sales fell by 13.2% year-on-year to EUR302.4m, as sales volumes for C&C's flagship cider brand, Magners, dropped by 12%. Volumes for C&C's Tullamore Dew Irish whiskey, however, registered a healthy lift of 11%.

Looking forward, the company said that it expects the continuation of the current market trends in Ireland and C&C's performance trends in the UK will lead to "a material drop" in operating profit in the second half year.

In relation to Great Britain, while poor summer weather and the difficult economic environment impact Magners performance, the group does not believe that these wholly account for the strong brand equity in Magners not converting into improved market performance.

The company is set to start "an in-depth review" of its marketing and commercial strategy in the UK, with a  sub-committee of the board looking at how to restore revenue growth.