GUINNESS makers Diageo has appointed its incoming chief executive to the ahead of schedule after current boss Sir Ivan Menezes suffered a "significant setback" following surgery on a stomach ulcer.

Debra Crew, the company's chief operating officer, had been due to start on July 1 has become interim chief executive of the beverage conglomerate.

Diageo told the stock market this morning that Sir Ivan is "currently in hospital receiving treatment for medical conditions including a stomach ulcer".

The company said in a statement: “Over the weekend, we learned that Ivan's recovery suffered a significant setback due to complications, which followed emergency surgery on the ulcer. 

READ MORE: Fife Diageo workers to take months-long strike action in pay row

 “As a result of these developments, the board of directors has appointed Debra Crew interim chief executive officer with immediate effect, ahead of her appointment as chief executive officer and joining the board as an executive director on 1 July 2023. As previously announced, Ivan will retire from the board on 30 June 2023.

 “Our thoughts are with our much-loved colleague, Ivan, and his family.

 “Out of respect for Ivan and his family's privacy, we will not be commenting further at this time.”

He has led Diageo for nearly 10 years, which he joined through the merger of Guinness plc and Grand Metropolitan plc in 1997.

He has held a number of senior positions, president of Diageo North America, chairman of Diageo Asia Pacific, and chairman of Diageo Latin America and Caribbean – and chief executive since July 2013.

Ms Crew originally joined the Diageo board in April 2019 as a non-executive director, before stepping down when appointed president of Diageo North America in July 2020.

She has held positions with Kraf Food, Nestle SA and Mars Inc – and has been the president and chief executive of Reynolds American.