US soft drinks group PepsiCo is to appoint Rajiv Bakshi as chairman of its Indian operations, succeeding P M Sinha, who will step down after ten years in the post in March next year. The move, which is expected to be confirmed on Thursday, delivers a stinging blow to Bakshi's current employer - UK-based confectionery and soft drink multinational Cadbury Schweppes.

Bakshi currently heads up Cadbury South Africa and previously oversaw Cadbury India. In preparation for his high-level role, he will join PepsiCo at the beginning of July and spend three months in the US on an induction programme. He will then work alongside Sinha until the latter's retirement next spring, to ensure a smooth handover.

Although it appears the deal has been sealed, there is speculation in the Indian media that Cadbury will attempt to retain Bakshi, who has been employed by Cadbury for more than a decade.