Diageo has split its Continental Europe division into two units.

The drinks giant confirmed to just-drinks today (23 January) that the split - broken down into North and South Europe - will see Benet Slay, the current managing director of Diageo GB, become managing director for Diageo Northern Europe.

The appointment, which will take effect from 1 July, will see Slay head up the hub, which includes France, Switzerland, Austria, Germany, the Nordics and Benelux.

Slay, who has been managing director of Diageo Great Britain since July 2006, will be replaced in his current position by Simon Litherland, managing director of Brandhouse South Africa. Created in July 2004, Brandhouse is a joint venture between Diageo, Heineken and Namibia Breweries.

Slay will remain a member of the Diageo Europe executive team, the company said, and will also continue on the board of trustees of The Drinkaware Trust in the UK.