Diageo has revealed that until a new boss is recruited for the head of Burger King, the fastfood chain’s £2.5bn flotation will most likely be delayed.

The world’s biggest drinks company has been searching for a replacement chief executive for its subsidiary following Dennis Malamatinas’ resignation in June. It is also anxious to begin trading in earnest, after it was announced that Burger King’s profits grew by just 4% last year.

Diageo itself reported an 11% rise in underlying profits, and is stoical about the expected delays in the Burger King flotation. Chief Executive Paul Walsh commented: “it is more important to put processes in place to minimise value than slavishly to try and hit a specific timetable.”

The flotation of a 20% stake in the global fastfood chain was expected to hit the New York stock exchange early in 2001.