Stock Spirits Group (SSG) has announced the appointment of Francisco Tonarely as managing director for the US.

Tonarely replaces Rob Cullins, who "moved on to pursue other career opportunities". He will spearhead the company's endeavours in the US market and takes over as president and CEO of American holding company, Heritage Brands.

With more than 15 years of experience in the drinks industry, Tonarely joins (SSG) from Brand Equity Partners, the marketing consultancy he helped launch in 1996.

Prior to the launch of Brand Equity, he was marketing director of Latin America, Caribbean, Puerto Rico at Pepsi-Cola International from 1986-1993, before joining Barcardi International as marketing director of Latin America, Caribbean, Puerto Rico, and latterly vice president and director of marketing for Spain.

Neil Everitt, chief executive of Stock Spirits Group, said: "We are pleased to have Francisco on board. His strong marketing background and international outlook will help us consolidate our position in the US market. We have made great strides in the US in the last year through the launch of Orzel, and hope to make further progress in 2009 with Francisco's knowledge and leadership."