Coca-Cola has announced that Deval Patrick will succeed Joseph Gladden, Jr, as general counsel for the company.

Patrick joins Coca-Cola from Texaco Inc, where he is currently vice-president and general counsel and a member of the company's executive counsel.

Chairman of the Coca-Cola Company Douglas Daft, who is to recommend to the board of directors at the April board meeting that Patrick be elected executive vice-president, said of the appointment: "Deval has distinguished himself throughout his career with his wise counsel, managerial skills and sensitivity. Beyond that, he has a depth of experience and a record of achievement that have prepared him well to serve The Coca-Cola Company.

"Deval's appointment is a critical step in strengthening Coca-Cola's world-class management team. We welcome him and look forward to the contributions he will make to our success," he added.

Patrick, 44, will succeed Joseph Gladden, Jr., who has been general counsel at Coca-Cola since 1990.

Gladden, who is also on the board of directors at Coca-Cola Enterprises and chairman of the board at Coca-Cola Amatil, the company's largest bottler in the Pacific, joined the company 25 years ago.

He was elected senior vice-president of the company in 1991 and then executive vice-president in 2000.

Daft said: "As excited as we are to be joined by Deval, we have mixed emotions as we thank Joe Gladden for his years of service and accomplishment."

Patrick will take up his post on April 18 and will be based at Coca-Cola's headquarters.

Sarah Diston