Penny Hughes to be president of the AA

Penny Hughes, the former marketing director and president of Coca-Cola UK, is to be the next president of the Advertising Association. She will be the first woman to fill the position in the body's 69-year history.

The AA council will be asked next month to endorse Hughes as the successor to Niall FitzGerald, the former Unilever chairman and chief executive, who is stepping down after four years.

Hughes and FitzGerald have a professional link via Reuters, where FitzGerald is the chairman and Hughes a non-executive director.

Hughes, who spent ten years with Coca-Cola Great Brit-ain and Ireland, also sits on the boards of Gap, Vodafone and Trinity Mirror. She was tipped for the Channel 4 chairman's job but lost out to Luke Johnson.

The AA will want to use Hughes' experience at Coke as it makes the industry's case in the obesity debate.

David Kershaw, the AA chairman, said: "While having a woman president is delightful, the most important thing is her wisdom about the importance of brands."