Grant Baker is stepping down as chairman of Moa Group and will be replaced by independent director Ashley Waugh as part of the unprofitable boutique beer maker's board shuffle as it chases Australian and New Zealand sales.

Waugh, a former chief executive of National Foods in Australia which merged with brewery Lion Nathan under Japanese beer company Kirin Holdings' ownership, will take over as chair on Jan. 28, the Auckland-based company said in a statement.

Baker has headed the board since the company listed in November 2012 and will remain as a director.

Outgoing chair Baker is a former executive chairman of 42 Below, the vodka company founded by Moa chief executive Geoff Ross which was sold to international rum and liquor business Bacardi for $138 million in 2006.


The two have since been active investors in everything from scented candles, skincare products and finance companies, via their venture investment fund The Business Bakery.

Alistair Ryan is also retiring as a director of Moa, having served on the board since listing, by John Ashby, who has worked for Lion Nathan and Whitbread UK and is deputy chairman of AsureQuality.

Ashby also sits on the boards of Tasti Products, Columbus Coffee, Integria Health Care, Yealands Wine Group, Groenz Group and is a trustee of Medicine Mondiale.

The board changes are to "strengthen the company's focus on growth in its primary markets of New Zealand and Australia," Moa said in a statement.

The brewery has changed to a more direct distribution model, contracting out brewing for many products to McCashin's brewery in Nelson and raised $5.75 million from shareholders after its cornerstone investors Pioneer Capital and The Business Bakery committed to providing financial support to ensure the company would keep running for at least another year.

In November the company posted a first-half loss of $3.21 million, widening from a loss of $3.04 million a year earlier, as revenue rose 71 percent to $2.5 million, but the company took a one-time charge of $438,000 to write down packaging, old stock, plant and glass moulds following its decision to change its local supplier.

That compares with one-time charges of $353,000 in the year-earlier period to end its New Zealand and Australian distribution agreements.

The shares last traded at 41 cents, and have plunged some 67 percent from their November 2012 initial public offer price of $1.25 which raised $16 million in capital, much of which was to support construction of an expanded brewing operation, which has not occurred owing to delays in its efforts to gain a resource consent to allow its construction.