Cadbury Schweppes will overhaul its legal department following the retirement of long-term chief legal officer and group secretary Mike Clark.

Clark’s role will be split between group M&A director Henry Udow, who will become chief legal officer, and legal director Hester Blanks, who will take over as group secretary.

Chief executive Todd Stitzer said: “The corporate governance and legal environment is always changing and it is to our advantage that we have retained these outstanding people to meet the challenges.”

Blanks will report to Stitzer and chairman John Sunderland and Udow will report to Stitzer. Both Udow and Blanks will be based in London. Their new roles will take effect from 1 July 2005.

As group M&A director, Udow has worked on transactions totalling £10bn. He joined Cadbury Schweppes in 1987 as legal counsel for the US beverage business. He then became senior vice president and general counsel in 1991. In 1994 Udow moved to the UK as legal director for global beverages and in 2000 he was appointed to his current role as group M&A director. Udow began his legal career at Shearman & Sterling in New York.

Blanks joined Cadbury Schweppes as an in-house lawyer in 1984. In 1987 she was made board secretary to Coca-Cola and Schweppes Beverages and in 1996 was promoted to legal director for Cadbury Schweppes’ European Beverages. She was appointed to her current role as legal director in 2003. Blanks began her legal training at Clifford Chance in London.