Independent Liquor has lined up a new chief executive to lead the New Zealand company following its sale to a private equity firm late last year.

Doug McKay, chief executive of international seafood company Sealord, will assume the equivalent position at Independent in May, local reports said today (31 January).

McKay's five-year contract with Sealord is coming to an end, making now "a good time to hand over the reins", McKay told the New Zealand Herald.

In December, private equity firm CCMP Capital teamed up with Pacific Equity Partners to snap up Independent Liquor for NZ$1.3bn (US$896.8m).

The distiller, which was put up for sale following the death of its founder Michael Erceg last year, had been the subject of a battle for ownership that included Diageo, Lion Nathan and Nikko Principal Investments.

McKay, who was previously managing director of Lion Breweries, would not give the Herald any further comments on Independent prior to him assuming the position in three months' time.