GlaxoSmithKline has confirmed the creation of an executive position in its nutritional healthcare division to help increase the presence of its soft drinks brands around the world.

The pharmaceutical and healthcare company said late last week that Graham Neale, the current senior vice president and general manager of nutritional healthcare in the UK, has been appointed to the new post of senior vice president, Nutritional Healthcare Future Group.

The newly-formed future group will look to "maximise the potential opportunities for Lucozade and Ribena around the world", GSK said.

"This development supports GSK's strategic priority to grow a diversified global business, exemplified by the announcement in October of the launch of Lucozade into China," the company continued. "Further global launches are anticipated."

Neale has led the nutritional healthcare UK business since 1998. Prior to this, he held several positions across the business, including general manager and vice president of Central and Eastern Europe, France and South East Asia. He has also held industry posts outside GSK, including presidency of the British Soft Drinks Association and UNESDA, the European soft drinks association.

Neale's position in the UK will be filled by Peter Harding, vice president of GSK's Aquafresh Future Team. Harding joined GSK's nutritional healthcare business in 1997 as marketing director for Lucozade. He became VP of marketing at nutritional healthcare UK in 1999, before becoming VP/GM of consumer healthcare in Ireland in 2003. Neale has held the position at the Aquafresh Future Team since 2006.

Both changes are effective immediately.