Diageo, the world's leading spirits, beer and wine company, announced today that it will simplify its North American organisation and consolidate its spirits operations under the leadership of Larry Schwartz, who is currently president of Key Markets for Diageo North America. He is appointed president, US Spirits effective immediately.

The company has also reorganised its European and UK management team.

"Larry Schwartz is an integral part of Diageo's executive team and I am confident that he will continue to be an outstanding leader, bringing together our spirits operations into one organization as part of the company's evolution," said Ivan Menezes, president and CEO, Diageo North America. "As Diageo celebrates its seventh anniversary, I am proud to have the opportunity to build on our success in North America and implement this further evolution of our strategy. It will allow us to build on our leadership position in the responsible sale and marketing of spirits in the US"

Prior to serving as the president of key markets, Schwartz was named president of Diageo Northeast in July 2002 where he was responsible for the business management of 12 US markets. He began his career at Joseph E. Seagram & Sons in 1975 where he rose to president of the company.

Kevin O'Neil, currently president of control markets, will continue to lead the control states as president. O'Neil will be directly responsible for managing the relationship with the National Alcohol Beverage Control Association (NABCA) board of directors.

Gilbert Ghostine, currently president of major markets, is appointed managing director, Northern Europe, comprising the Nordics, Germany, France, Benelux, Austria, Switzerland, the Baltics, and Euro-Beer. Ghostine will be based in Paris.

"I am looking forward to continuing to work with Kevin as he leads Diageo's business in the Control States," said Menezes, "and I would like to thank Gilbert for his incredible leadership over the past three years with Diageo North America. I wish him every success in his new role. He will be greatly missed."

Following the reorganisation of Diageo's pan-regional structure in September, Diageo has also made changes in the UK.

Andrew Morgan, who is currently president of Europe, will now also take on the role of chief executive Diageo Great Britain. He will be backed up by two managing directors in the UK, one for the on-trade and one for the off-trade.

Managing director for the off-trade will be Benet Slay, who joined Diageo in February 2004 and who was previously director of the on-trade.

On-trade managing director will be Jim Young, who has been at the company since Diageo acquired Seagram in 2002. He was previously sales and marketing director for venture markets and managing director for Nordics.

Don Goulding, meanwhile, the incumbent managing director of Diageo GB, has taken on a role with Morgan to implement the new European structure.

The appointments in the UK are effective from February 1st this year.