Foster's, the beer and wine group at the centre of takeover speculation, has announced the departure of Jamie Odell, managing director for its Australia, Asia and Pacific business.

Odell will leave the company on 14 November to pursue other interests, the Australian beer and wine giant said today (10 November).

His departure follows that of chief executive Trevor O'Hoy in the summer. The news will increase speculation that Foster's may be subject to a takeover bid.

Sales and marketing heads in Australia, as well as the managing director of Asia/Pacific, will report directly to new Foster's CEO Ian Johnston, pending the outcome of the review of the group's its wine business, Foster's said.

Johnston said: "I personally thank Jamie for his contribution in various senior roles over 9 years with the Company and sincerely wish him well as he seeks fresh challenges in the future."

Takeover speculation surrounding Foster's intensified last week, after Molson Coors revealed itself as the mystery buyer of a 5% stake in the Australian group on 25 September. Molson said that it remained open to all options, including raising its stake or backing away from the firm.

Foster's has extended a deadline for its wine business review from the end of this year to February. Industry sources have told just-drinks that the firm has made initial approaches to potential buyers of some, or all, of the troubled division.