Russian food retailer O'Key Group has appointed Tony Denis Maher as its new chief executive officer.

Maher will replace Patrick Longuet, who has served as the company's chief executive officer since 2007. Longuet will continue to assume the role of advisor to the board of directors.

"I was happy to lead the company for the past seven years and participate in its growth. During that time, the company has multiplied in size, extended its presence to new regions and successfully listed its shares on the London stock exchange," Longuet said.

Maher has served in a variety of senior roles in the food and beverage sector over the last 30 years. Most recently he was chief executive officer of Wimm-Bill-Dann. He oversaw the sale of the company to PepsiCo in a transaction that valued the group at US$5.8bn.

"I am delighted to be taking on the position of CEO in O'Key at such an exciting time for the retail industry" said Maher. 

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O'KEY GROUP S.A. (the "Company" or "O'KEY"), one of the leading Russian food retailers, today announces the decision to appoint Tony Denis Maher as the Company's Chief Executive Officer. Mr. Maher who has served in a variety of senior roles in the international food and beverage sector over the last 30 years will succeed Patrick Longuet. Mr. Longuet who has served as the Company's Chief Executive Officer since 2007 assumes the role of an advisor to the Board of Directors and will continue to be available to consult with the Company.

"I was happy to lead the Company for the past 7 years and participate in its growth. During that time, the company has multiplied in size, extended its presence to new regions and successfully listed its shares on the London stock exchange. I have enjoyed leading the strong management team that enabled me to achieve this success. I wish them new records and accomplishments in the tasks they will pursue," said Mr. Longuet.

"I would like to express gratitude to the shareholders of the Company for the trust they have put in me as a General Director in the past and hold for the future as I assume an advisor's role. I am happy to be succeeded by such a respected leader as Tony Maher. I look forward to seeing the Company's continued success under his leadership in the years to come," continued Mr. Longuet.

"I am delighted to be taking on the position of CEO in OKEY at such an exciting time for the retail industry" said Mr. Maher. "I would like to thank Patrick for his enormous contribution to the development of the Company. During his time O'KEY was transformed into a public company with a diversified international investor base and increased revenue more than four times. I am looking forward to leading the Company and its strong management team to achieve many new milestones."

Tony Maher was Chief Executive Officer of Wimm-Bill-Dann Foods OJSC from April 2006 to May 2011, where he oversaw the transformation of the company into a world-class, multinational food and beverage player. In December 2010, Mr. Maher oversaw the sale of Wimm-Bill-Dann to PepsiCo in a transaction that valued the company at US$5.8 billion and which delivered a 33% premium to shareholders of the NYSE-listed company. Following the successful completion of the transaction, Mr. Maher stepped down as CEO of the company in May of 2011.

Tony Maher has almost 30 years of experience in the international food and beverage sector. Mr. Maher was born in Ireland and over the course of his career has worked in a variety of senior roles in Western, Central and Eastern European markets within the Coca-Cola system.

Original source: O'Key Group