Coca-Cola Enterprises has recruited a senior executive at InBev to head up its European group.

The company confirmed today (24 September) that Steve Cahillane, formerly InBev's chief commercial officer, will become president of its European unit from 1 October. Cahillane replaces Shaun Higgins, who will leave CCE at the end of this year.

"Steve's global marketing and beverage experience make him uniquely qualified to lead our business and capture the opportunities in our European territories," said John Brock, CCE's president and CEO. "His strategic thought leadership, entrepreneurial skills and drive for results are a powerful combination that gives me every confidence that Steve will lead CCE Europe to higher levels of performance.

"To ensure a seamless leadership transition, Shaun will continue to lead our European Group in October while Steve meets with key internal and external stakeholders."

Cahillane founded State Street Brewing Company in Chicago in 1995, which he owned until 1997, when he sold the business and then joined Coors Distribution Company as vice president and general manager. In 1999, Cahillane joined InBev, serving as vice president of US Sales until 2001, when he was promoted to CEO of Labatt USA. From 2003 to 2005, he was located in London and served as chief executive of Interbrew UK and Ireland, reporting directly to Brock. Most recently, Cahillane was located in Brussels, serving as chief commercial officer at the brewer. He left InBev by mutual agreement in June, to be replaced on an interim basis by chief sales officer Jo van Biesbroeck. No permanent replacement has yet been found for Cahillane, InBev told just-drinks today.

Details were not disclosed regarding Higgins' plans following his departure.