Coca-Cola Enterprises has refused to be drawn on the candidates to replace outgoing president and CEO John Alm.

Reports from Australia had claimed that analysts in the country had pinpointed Coca-Cola Amatil chief executive Terry Davis as a potential candidate for the top job at CCE.

However, a spokesperson for CCE in Atlanta declined to comment on specific candidates to follow Alm, who leaves next month.

"An external search has been initiated but we are not commenting on specific candidates," the spokesperson told just-drinks today (22 December).

She added: "We haven't put a timeline on it. We want to take our time to find the best candidate possible."

Mark Swartzberg, a beverage analyst at US investment bank Stifel Nicolaus, said Coca-Cola Amatil's performance under Davis' stewardship stood the Australian in good stead to take on the CCE job.

"His track record at Coke Amatil makes him a very favourable prospect to run CCE," Swartzberg said, adding that the Australasian arm had been outperforming CCE under Davis.

He added: "Bottlers are tasked to execute plans at a local level and that hasn't been done as effectively at CCE in recent years. Coke Amatil has shown a willingness to go beyond the Coke portfolio of offerings, which has aided its performance."

CCE is the world's largest marketer, distributor and producer of bottled and canned non-alcoholic beverages and sells about 80% of the Coca-Cola Company's volumes in North America. It is also the sole licensed bottler of Coca-Cola products in Belgium, France, Britain, Luxembourg, Monaco and the Netherlands.

Coca-Cola Amatil produces, bottles and distributes Coke products across Australasia, Indonesia and South Korea.