Kennedy will step back into the role of president of Diageo’s Europe operations in January, initially on an interim basis

John Kennedy has returned to head up Diageo’s operations in Europe, six months after leaving the role.

Kennedy’s return has been facilitated by the departure of Soraya Benchikh, who was announced as the new CFO at British American Tobacco last month.

Benchikh was announced as Kennedy’s replacement in December 2022, after Diageo revealed Kennedy would be leaving after a 27-year stint at the Johnnie Walker maker.

However, The Grocer understands Kennedy has continued to work for Diageo in an advisory capacity since his official departure in June this year.

He will step back into the role of president of Diageo’s Europe operations in January 2024, initially on an interim basis.

Kennedy, who was not available to comment on his appointment, will report into Diageo CEO Debra Crew and rejoin the London-listed company’s executive committee.

It continues his near-three decade association with the company he first joined in 1996.

Prior to being appointed president for Europe, Turkey and India in July 2016, Kennedy was Diageo’s president for Europe and western Europe, and before that chief operating officer for Western Europe.

Benchikh will take up her role at BAT in January, rejoining the company at which she had previously spent more than 20 years.

Her appointment was facilitated by the promotion of BAT’s CFO Tadeu Marroco to the role of CEO.

Benchikh’s “excellent track record in different geographies and in depth understanding of the sector” made her “ideally suited” to the role, BAT said at the time.