The former boss of Johnnie Walker and Smirnoff owner Diageo, Sir Ivan Menezes, has died aged 63 following a brief illness weeks before his retirement from the firm.
Diageo said he died with his family by his side, after announcing on Monday that he was undergoing emergency surgery in hospital.
Former chief operating offer Debra Crew was appointed interim chief executive with immediate effect earlier this week.
She was due to take over as boss of the firm from July 1, when Sir Ivan was set to retire.
Sir Ivan had been chief executive for ten years at the multinational company, where he had a 25-year career.
Javier Ferran, the chairman of Diageo, said: “This is an incredibly sad day. Ivan was undoubtedly one of the finest leaders of his generation.
“Ivan was there at the creation of Diageo and over 25 years, shaped Diageo to become one of the best performing, most trusted and respected consumer companies.
“Ivan leaves behind many friends and a beloved family, and our thoughts are particularly with his wife, Shibani and his two children, Nikhil and Rohini.
“On behalf of the board, executive committee and all our employees, we extend our deepest sympathies to them.”