Diageo Plc said Javier Ferran, a partner at European buyout firm Lion Capital and a former head of rum maker Bacardi, will replace Franz Humer as chairman of the world’s largest distiller.
Ferran will take the role Jan. 1 when Humer, 69, retires after eight years, the company said in a statement Wednesday. Ferran, 59, who’s on the board of British brewer SABMiller Plc, will drop that position when his term expires in July. The Spanish businessman also serves on the board of Associated British Foods Plc, owner of the Primark discount-retail chain.
Ferran joins the maker of Smirnoff vodka and Johnnie Walker scotch as it’s trying to reignite growth in a lackluster market. Last year the company shifted its finance chief to run operations in North America, its largest profit region. Chief Executive Officer Ivan Menezes is also grappling with slowdowns in once-promising emerging markets like China and Africa, while Britain’s referendum on leaving the European Union could put scotch whisky exports at risk.
Diageo’s shares were down 0.8 percent to 1,842 pence at 2:28 p.m. in London.