The soft drink and snack food producer Cadbury Schweppes has unveiled its plans for succession after current chairman Derek Bonham comes to the end of his three-year term following the AGM on 8 May 2003. The shuffle will see the company appoint its first American CEO.

In a statement yesterday Cadbury said John Sunderland, the chief executive officer, will become chairman, allowing Todd Stitzer, currently executive director and chief strategy officer, and previously president of Dr Pepper/Seven Up in the US, to become chief executive officer.

Roger Carr, Cadbury Schweppes plc's senior independent director, will become deputy chairman.

John Sunderland's appointment will be full-time until August 2005, and subsequently, part-time.

Bonham, said: "We are delighted that John Sunderland has accepted the board's invitation to succeed me as chairman.  In selecting Todd Stitzer as the best person to succeed John, the board felt it was important that John assumed the role of chairman for the transitional period on a full-time basis to provide maximum continuity.

"John has been almost seven years at the helm and has a superb track record running Cadbury Schweppes. We believe it is in the interests of the company and its shareholders that his extensive experience is retained and that John and Todd work closely together going forward to continue to build value at Cadbury Schweppes. Todd has an outstanding track record, and he will lead the next generation of management in our continuing drive for growth and efficiency."