Thys Loubser, the newly-appointed chief executive at KWV Ltd, has begun ringing the changes at the South African drinks group.

Loubser, who officially took over as CEO on 1 February, has flattened the company's senior management structure and eliminated its KWV International and KWV South Africa units.

The move is the first phase in the realignment of KWV Ltd, a spokesman said. A fuller picture should emerge by the end of March.

The spokesman said this was not a cost-cutting exercise, but rather one to streamline the company.

Loubser paid homage to the work done by his predecessor Dr Willem Barnard, who was one of the key movers in KWV's transformation from a co-operative over the past decade. Loubser is aiming to further commercialise the group.