Cott Corporation, the private label soft drinks specialist, has appointed Neal Cravens as its new chief financial officer.

Cravens will take up the role on 8 September and replaces Juan Figuereo, who is to step down, Cott said late yesterday (20 August).

A reason for Figuereo's departure was not given.

Analyst group Stifel Nicolaus said in note: "The CFO move comes amidst a healthy improvement in Cott's financial performance and, in our opinon, is an instance of Mr [CEO Jerry] Fowden building his team as he pursues Cott's turnaround."

Figuereo will stay on past September to ensure a "smooth and efficieny transition", the soft drinks group said.

Craven has held senior financial positions with several companies, including with Seagram Company. Most recently he has been CFO for a number of private companies, including the largest US consumer products broker, whose clients included some of Cott's key retail customers.

"We are pleased to welcome Neal, who brings extensive domestic and international business experience to our team," said Cott CEO Jerry Fowden.

He added: "We are thankful for the enormous contribution Juan made during a period of intense change for our company. Juan helped get Cott back on track during a difficult period, driving improvements in our operating processes and accounting controls, supporting the execution of our refocus plan and strengthening our capital structure."

Cott said in its half-year results conference last month that it saw encouraging signs in the first half of 2009, but remained cautious about the full-year.