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Diageo’s Kenya Unit CEO Hainsworth Resigns, Ireland to Take Over

East African Breweries Ltd. Chief Executive Officer Devlin Hainsworth resigned after eight months running the Nairobi-based Diageo Plc unit

Charles Ireland, the managing director of Guiness Anchor Berhad in Malaysia, assumes the top job on April 1, the company said today in an e-mailed statement from the Nairobi Securities Exchange. Guinness Anchor is a joint venture between Diageo and Singapore-based Asia Pacific Breweries Ltd.

Hainsworth is stepping down on March 31, “to pursue other interests outside of EABL and Diageo,” according to the statement. Hainsworth didn’t immediately return a call to his office seeking comment.

“It is shocking because we expected him to stay longer,” Davis Mika, an analyst at Nairobi-based Contrarian Investing Kenya Ltd., said today in a phone interview. “The company is facing challenges such as growing competition and the balance sheet is not in same state it used to be so perhaps the change of guard is probably to bring someone more capable of steering the company.”

Shares in EABL, as the company is known, have fallen 9.1 percent since it reported on Feb. 15 profit declined by almost a fifth in the six months to Dec. 31 as interest costs surged.

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