The board of directors at Coca Cola are is split over who is to succeed Douglas Daft as chairman and chief executive, according to press reports. Daft announced on Thursday that he will retire from his position with Coke at the end of this year.

The UK's Financial Times reported on Saturday that the company's board is not in full agreement about the front-running internal candidate Steven Heyer, citing people close to the company.

Heyer currently holds the position of group president and chief operating officer. The newspaper claims, however, that some feel he has proved to be more an operational manager than the visionary leader the board is seeking.

"One thing Steve has helped with is restructuring - that's what he did at (Young & Rubicam Advertising Worldwide) and that's what he did at (Turner Broadcasting)," one person familiar to the situation told the FT. "But there was no real upside in growth in either of those companies when he was done.

"At the end of the day, some members of the board have realised he's not the guy," the source added.

The soft drinks giant has appointed an executive search company to assist in finding any suitable external candidates.

On Thursday, the FT reports,  James Williams, a long-serving board member, said that, while Heyer was the strong candidate internally, "we think this is a world-class company and it deserves to have world-class talent. We're going to see what's out there."