Japanese drinks group Kirin Holdings has appointed a new president and CEO as it looks to push on with plans to drive earnings, despite a breakdown in merger talks with Suntory.

Kirin said today (10 February) that executive vice president Senji Miyake will become president and CEO from next month.

Current CEO Kazuyasu Kato will become Kirin's chairman.

Miyake's task will be to guide Kirin through its Vision 2015 strategy, first developed in 2006 and which calls for expansion into Asia-Pacific to reduce reliance on a sluggish Japanese drinks market.

Last year, Kirin acquired full control of Australian brewer Lion Nathan and a 48% stake in San Miguel Brewery. It also signed a drink joint venture deal with Diageo in its native Japan.

However, a move to take Kirin into the food and drink big league fell through this week when the company announced merger talks with fellow Japanese group Suntory ended over disagreements on how a combined company would be formed.

Under Miyake's stewardship, Kirin said it will look to implement its plans and "comprehensively address key issues" to drive a "significant increase in earnings and efficiency".

Kirin today reported net sales down 1% and profits down 39% for 2009.