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AUS: Foster's Group forges ahead with demerger plans

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  • Pollaers, Dearie to get CEO posts
  • Demerger on-track for 2011
  • Chairman Crawford to side with beer

Foster's Group has said that it wants the current heads of its wine and beer businesses to continue in their posts after the two divisions have been demerged.

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Foster's said today (22 December) that it will propose to retain John Pollaers and David Dearie, the respective leaders of Carlton & United Breweries (CUB) and Treasury Wine Estates. Following a demerger of the two businesses, Pollaers would become CEO of Foster's and Dearie CEO of Treasury Wine Estates.

The current Foster's Group CEO, Ian Johnston, will leave the business following the demerger.

Foster's reiterated that no final decision has been made on a demerger, which would also require shareholder approval. But, it added: "Work on the potential demerger continues to progress well and if a demerger proceeds it is expected to be implemented in the first half of calendar 2011."

The demerged wine and beer arms are strongly expected to attract takeover interest. As a result, there will be speculation as to how long Pollaers and Dearie will continue to run operations following the demerger.   

For now, both men remain focused on the organic growth potential of CUB and Tresaury Wine Estates. "To re-establish CUB as a dedicated brewer is a unique and challenging task and my team and myself are up for the challenge," said Pollaers.

Dearie added: "While wine has its challenges, the combination of demographics, population and consumer trends give me great confidence in our future as a ‘pure play’ wine company."

Foster's also announced today that its current chairman, David Crawford, will become chairman of the demerged CUB. Food and beverage industry veteran Max Ould, who has been on Foster's Group's board as an independent director since 2004, will become chairman of Treasury Wine Estates.


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