Drinks combine, Allied Domecq has announced that Christopher Hogg is to retire from his positions as non-executive chairman and director on March 31.

He is to be succeeded by Gerry Robinson who joins the board as a non-executive director with immediate effect. Hogg (65) has been chairman of the drinks group for six years.

The British company, whose brands include Stolichnaya vodka, Sauza tequila and Beefeater gin, said Robinson, a former chairman of TV group Granada Plc, would join Allied on Friday as a non-executive director and then take over from Hogg as non-executive chairman on March 31.

"On 31 March I will have completed six years as chairman and I told my board colleagues some time ago that I wanted to retire at this stage," Hogg said in a statement.

An Allied spokesman said that as a non-executive chairman Robinson would act as an independent individual on behalf of shareholders rather than take a direct role in day-to-day management next to Chief Executive Philip Bowman.

Robinson helped mastermind Granada's complex 17.5 billion pound ($24.73 billion) merger/demerger with catering group Compass and remains a non-executive director of the British broadcaster.