The chairman and chief executive of Bacardi International Ltd. is to retire, according to press reports. The Miami Herald said yesterday (2 May) that Ruben Rodriguez will retire after the company's annual shareholder meeting next month or soon after.

Rodriguez has been with Bacardi since 1989, serving as chief financial officer and director of audit and finance. He took over as president and chief executive in March 2000 and added the title of chairman in July 2000, marking the first time a non-Bacardi family member held both top executive jobs.

In June 2003, Rodriguez gave up the position of chief executive to Javier Ferran, but had to re-assume the position late last year when Ferran resigned.

Rodriguez's resignation came just as Diageo approached Bacardi in search of a partner to launch a possible counter-bid for Allied Domecq, the paper added. Some of Bacardi's 600 family shareholders were believed to be considering a bid, UK paper The Sunday Business said.

Citing a company spokesman as confirming the news, the paper said that the spokesman added that his departure was not connected with any dispute within the Bacardi family or any disagreement about whether to pursue a bid for Allied.

"This is a very stressful job," Rodriguez told the Herald. "I've given it every drop of my blood. I never planned that I was going to stay here forever."