Brewer Scottish & Newcastle has announced a board reshuffle, sparking rumours that the company is gearing up for the departure of CEO Tony Froggatt.

Chairman and MD of S&N UK, John Dunsmore, has moved to MD, western Europe, with responsibility for the UK, France, Portugal, Finland, Belgium, Greece and European venture markets.

Meanwhile, John Nicholson, who was chairman of greater Europe and the US, has been appointed managing director Eastern Europe, Asia and the US. He has also undertaken responsibility for the brewer's joint Russian business BBH and the other joint venture businesses in India, China and Vietnam.

Analysts suggested the announcement indicated Dunsmore was being groomed to take over from Froggatt, though thus far there has been no formal indication of his intention to stand down. "This board change represents a natural evolution for S&N's rapidly expanding business worldwide," said a spokesman.