Heineken NV said CEO Thony Ruys will step down October 1 and be replaced by Belgian board member Jean Francois van Boxmeer.

The brewer said the move is part of a new management structure aimed at driving and supporting its next phase of growth.

As a member of the executive board, Van Boxmeer is currently responsible for Production, Eastern Europe, North-West Europe, Heineken Netherlands, Greece and Africa and the Middle East.

As of October 1, the board will consist of CEO Van Boxmeer, CFO Rene Hoofd Graafland and new COO Marc Bolland.

Heineken will also cut its executive board to three from five. The beverage company is coming off a rough 2004, when profits slid 33% to 537 million euros ($700 million), hit by a weak dollar that eroded U.S. profits, as well as a weak economy and a colder summer than a year ago in Western Europe, which led to a lower number of consumers and more competition on low-priced beers.

Profits in 2003 were virtually flat at 798 million euros ($1.04 billion).

It said last month the weak dollar may result in a 2005 profit fall before exceptional items and brand and goodwill amortization.

"Ruys is blamed for Heineken's meager financial performance in the past years. Although we believe his strategic initiatives have been right, market conditions and currency movements have had a clear adverse effect on the company's performance," said Delta Lloyd Securities.

Heineken in March said it will launch a new light beer in the U.S. market, Heineken Premium Light, alongside its Amstel Light for that market.