Foster's, the troubled Australian drinks group, has appointed acting CEO Ian Johnston to head the business on a permanent basis.

Johnston, a former managing director of Cadbury Schweppes, will take the helm at Foster's with immediate effect, the group said today (26 September).

His main task will be to turnaround Foster's' performance over the last year, and in particular the firm's ailing wine division.

Outgoing CEO Trevor O'Hoy resigned abruptly earlier this summer. News of his departure emerged as Foster's issued a profit warning to the market.

Foster's chairman, David Crawford, said: "Ian has had an opportunity to get across the business during his time as Acting CEO and will hit the ground running." He added that Johnston would have a "renewed mandate to lift business performance in line with our own expectations and those of shareholders".

Speculation has surfaced that Foster's may sell at least part of its Australian wine business.

Net profit after one-off charges plunged 88% to A$111.7m (US$92.4m) for the 12 months to the end of June, following a $602m write-down on the group's global wine business.

Separately today, Foster's announced that Graeme McGregor would retire from its board of directors, following the AGM on 29 October. No reason was given for his departure.