A NEW chief executive has been hired to run the brewer behind Scotland's biggest-selling lager brand.

Drinks firm C&C Group has announced that Brian Calder is to take the reins at its Tennent Caledonian Breweries (TCB) business, home of Tennent's Lager.

Mr Calder will take charge of the Glasgow-based brewer after a phased succession from current incumbent John Gilligan, who will wind down his commitments over an unspecified time.

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The change comes just days after Dublin-based C&C completed the full takeover of Wallaces Express, the Irvine-based drinks wholesaler led by Mr Calder. That deal, which will see the wholesaler renamed Wallaces TCB, came a year after C&C had taken a 50% stake in the business.

Mr Calder revealed he jumped at the chance to take the role when he was approached by C&C chief executive Stephen Glancey as the firm acquired the remaining 50% shareholding in Wallaces Express.

He said: "We are all very enthusiastic about the combined business. You can just see from the improvements C&C is making to Wellpark and in the investment [it] is putting into Scotland [that] it's a very exciting time for the trade in Scotland. To be part of that... I'm just delighted to be involved."

Mr Calder's appointment effectively marks the first change of employer in his career, having spent 41 years with Wallaces Express. He took control of Wallaces in a management buyout with fellow director Chris Cosh in 2003.

Mr Gilligan took over as managing director at TCB three years ago after serving as a director at Glasgow-based wholesaler Wm Morton for 10 years.

Mr Calder added: "John has expressed an interest to wind down over a period of time. It's good succession planning to make sure we have a smooth path to the future."