Halewood International has appointed Judy Halewood, the widow of its founder, as the drinks company's new chairwoman.

Judy Halewood's appointment follows the unexpected death of her husband, John, who founded Halewood International in 1978 and was its chairman, chief executive and majority shareholder. John Halewood was found dead at his home on 15 October and is believed to have died in his sleep.

Halewood's MD, Andy Smallman, said today (24 October): “Although the background to this appointment is truly sad, the directors, who know Judy well, cannot think of anyone who Mr Halewood would have rather had chairing the businesses and driving them forward."

Last week, Halewood's board said that the company would remain family-owned following the death of its founder. The group produces Lambrini and Crabbie's drinks.