Larry Swartz, president of Diageo North America, will retire at the end of this year after 40 years in the drinks industry.
Schwartz – a bartender's son and grandson – has been president of the North America division since March 2012, but has held numerous other roles at the business including president of Diageo US and president of the drinks giant's US spirit arm.
Diageo - the world's largest producer of spirits - is now looking for a replacement, who will be announced further down the line.
Chief executive Ivan Menezes said: “Today is an opportunity to recognise Larry's achievements and thank him for his commitment and dedication to Diageo. Through his strong relationships across the industry and within Diageo and his passion for our business and our brands he has helped build Diageo's leadership position in our largest market.
“This is a strong business and until he retires Larry will support the new leader of our North American business as they implement the changes needed to deliver improving performance."
Schwartz said he was “privileged to have enjoyed 40 years in an industry I love”
“Working with Diageo's brands and people has been the highlight of a career that has brought me much joy. It has been an honour to work alongside Ivan and all my colleagues in Diageo over these past 15 years."
Diageo's share price dropped on the news, but largely recovered, trading down one per cent at pixel time.