Diageo has appointed its North America president, Ivan Menezes, to the position of global chief operating officer.

Menezes will take up the newly-created, global role on 1 March, Diageo said today (29 February). He will be replaced by the Johnnie Walker distiller's president for the US, Larry Schwartz. 

A spokesperson for Diageo told just-drinks that Schwartz will not be replaced in his US role. "There is no plan for a president, USA at this time," she said, but she added that Schwartz will continue to head-up US operations within his North America remit. 

As COO, Menezes will lead Diageo’s operating businesses globally adding responsibility for Europe and Africa to his current responsibility for North America, Asia Pacific and Latin America & Caribbean, the firm said. He will report to group CEO Paul Walsh and some analysts have said that the appointment heightens Menezes' chance of one day replacing Diageo's veteran leader.

For now, the move comes as Diageo seeks to increase profitability in emerging markets. Walsh said: "Given our strong performance momentum and the scope and scale of our ambition, the Diageo board and I agree that now is the right time to extend Ivan’s remit to embrace all of our markets globally."