Sistema Plastics chief operating officer Drew Muirhead has been appointed chief executive to replace founder Brendan Lindsay following the company's sale to US-based Newell Brands for $660 million last year.

Originally from Scotland, Muirhead moved to New Zealand 14 years ago and started working at Sistema on the factory floor as a die setter, rising through the ranks to become factory manager in 2010 and chief operating officer in 2014.

Muirhead had been instrumental in the planning, completion and relocation of the company to Sistema's new 52,000sqm, $120m factory near Auckland Airport, Sistema said.

One of the conditions of the sale was to keep the Sistema operation in New Zealand for the next 20 years and Muirhead's appointment will see him lead the transition, Sistema said in a statement.

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Lindsay, who will help oversee the transition, said Muirhead "knows the business inside out".