* Alison Watkins quits GrainCorp to head local Coke bottler
* Move follows Australia blocking ADM's A$2.8 bln GrainCorp
* GrainCorp shares slip 1.4 percent, CCA shares rise
SYDNEY, Dec 2 The chief executive of GrainCorp
Ltd has resigned just days after Australia's government
rejected a takeover of the grains handler by U.S. agribusiness
giant Archer Daniels Midland Inc.
Alison Watkins, who she had planned to leave GrainCorp once
ADM had secured control of the company, will take over as
managing director of Coca-Cola Amatil Ltd (CCA), the
bottler said on Monday.
Australian Treasurer Joe Hockey rejected ADM's A$2.8 billion
($2.6 billion) bid for GrainCorp on Friday, bowing to pressure
from grain growers in a rare and surprising decision.
"The expectation in the investment community was that ADM's
offer for GrainCorp would be approved and effected in the near
term," said Graincorp Chairman Don Taylor, who will assume a
temporary role as executive chairman while a search for a
replacement is conducted.
"In that context, it is not surprising that an executive of
Alison's calibre has attracted interest and had new
opportunities presented to her."
CCA said Watkins, who ran GrainCorp for three-and-a-half
years, would start in March.
Shares in GrainCorp, which plunged by almost a quarter on
Friday after Hockey rejected ADM's bid, were down 1.4 percent on
The company, which dominates Australia's east coast grains
handling and storage business, has been diversifying with recent
deals in the malting and oil seeds businesses. Its earnings
however have come under pressure as grains harvests retreat from
CCA shares rose 1.7 percent.