Paul Walsh, the chief executive of drinks giant Diageo, is set to be appointed chairman of the UK's largest foodservice company, the Compass Group.
According to The Sunday Times, Walsh has been lined up to replace Sir Roy Gardner, who will retire from the company following the company's annual general meeting in February 2014. Gardner has been chairman since 2006 after joining the board of Compass the previous year.
Walsh has run Diageo, which owns leading drinks brands such as Guiness and Johnnie Walker as well as Gleneagles hotel, for 13 years.
It is believed that Walsh, who undertook acquisitions at Diageo in Turkey, Brazil, India, Vietnam and China, will help to speed up the expansion of Compass overseas. Richard Cousins, Compass's chief executive, is currently overseeing growth in emerging markets.
The share price of Compass has more than trebled under Cousins, who has headed the company since 2006. Its latest share price values the company at £15.3b. The last full-year results, for the year ended September 2012, revealed revenue of £16.9b, up 8% year on year, and operating profit of £1,1781m.
Walsh joined Diageo in 1982 and was appointed chief executive in 2000. It was announced in May that he would step down from the role on 1 July, when he will be replaced by Ivan Menezes, the company's current chief operating officer.