Cadbury Schweppes plc's Americas Beverages group today announced several management changes that help consolidate its structure in North America.

These changes are part of the regional restructuring plans unveiled earlier this year and will go into effect in mid December this year.

"Our goal is to create a premier beverage marketing and sales organization that capitalizes on the terrific brand portfolios managed by the Dr Pepper/Seven Up, Snapple and Mott's organizations," said Gilbert M. Cassagne, Americas Beverages president and chief executive officer.

"We are designing an organization that will continue to be competitive, grow our beverage business and develop new products that meet the desires of our bottlers, distributors, retailers and consumers. We are committed to building an organization that makes it easy for consumers to prefer our brands, and makes it convenient and profitable for retailers to stock and sell them." The changes include the appointment of Jack Belsito, currently president of Snapple and Mott's, to president of the Snapple Distributing Company, with the mandate to further leverage the distribution and selling expertise of Snapple's company-owned distribution system. He will remain in the company's Northeast location.

Jim Johnston, currently responsible for franchise and licensing throughout the region, is appointed senior vice president-strategy, and he will be responsible for strategic planning, knowledge management and franchising/licensing. He will remain in Plano, Texas.

Mike McGrath, currently president of Dr Pepper/Seven Up, will become president of sales for Americas Beverages. Based in Plano, he will be responsible for building a regional sales organization for the North American brand portfolio.

Jim Trebilcock and Michael Sands will continue as the marketing heads for the Dr Pepper/Seven Up and Snapple/Mott's organisations, respectively. An internal and external search will begin for a regional head of brand marketing for Americas Beverages, and that position is expected to be located in the Northeast.

"Properly structuring our beverage business in North America is critical to meeting our future growth goals," stated Cassagne. "We are committed to doing that which is necessary to position our North American beverage business to remain competitive in the future."