Humer has been on Diageos board since 2005

Humer has been on Diageo's board since 2005

Diageo is looking for a new chairman as Franz Humer prepares to step down after eight years in the role.

The company said today a succession process is now underway but that a replacement has yet to be confirmed. "At the appropriate time we will announce our plans for succession," Diageo said.

Humer, who has been on the board at the Johnnie Walker owner for 11 years, will leave the company in June when he reaches the end of his tenure, just-drinks understands.

"Dr Humer has been our esteemed chairman for eight years guiding the company to the leadership position we have today," Diageo said. in a statement. "As a matter of good governance process, the board has clearly started to think about succession and a process is underway."

Humer, 69, took over as chairman in July 2008 from Lord Blyth of Rowington. The Swiss-Austrian was previously chief executive of Swiss global health-care company F Hoffmann-La Roche. Humer is a non-executive director at three other companies - Kite Pharma, CitiGroup and Japan's Chugai Pharmaceutical.

Analysts cited by The Sunday Times yesterday said possible replacements for Humer included SABMiller and Rio Tinto chairman Jan du Plessis, Royal Mail chairman Peter Long and former Marks & Spencer CEO Marc Bolland.