Diageo Seeks New CFO as Mahlan to Head North American Unit

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Diageo Plc, the maker of Guinness stout and Johnnie Walker whisky, is seeking a new chief financial officer as its current one shifts to lead the company’s business in North America.

Deirdre Mahlan will become president of the North America unit, replacing 62-year-old Larry Schwartz, who is retiring, the company said in a statement Tuesday. Mahlan, 53, will continue in her role as CFO until a replacement is found.

Mahlan faces a tough task to boost growth in North America, Diageo’s biggest and most profitable market. Sales there have declined over the past two years because of competition on price and falling consumption of its flagship Smirnoff vodka brand. Mahlan’s appointment forms part of a wider reorganization of regional management.

The executive joined when the distiller jointly acquired Seagram Co. in 2001. She has held roles within Diageo including finance director in North America.

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