Nestle, the world's largest food company, is most likely to name Chief Financial Officer Paul Polman as its new chief executive, replacing Peter Brabeck, Swiss Sunday newspapers reported.

Polman is already widely tipped as the successor for Brabeck, who will drop his executive functions in 2008 to serve as group chairman.

The Nestle board is scheduled to announce a decision on Thursday.

Paul Polman is going to be the new CEO, that has been become known high up, Swiss Sunday paper Sonntag quoted a Nestle-manager, who asked not to be named.

Swiss paper Sonntagszeitung also reported that Polman had by far the best chances to get the top-job, referring to reliable sources.

The company could not be reached for comment.

But Sonntag quoted Nestle spokesman Francois Perroud as saying that nobody knew in the company who would become the new head.

Polman, born in the Netherlands in 1956, joined Nestle in 2005 from Procter & Gamble, where he was credited with turning around the European business.

The choice of Polman would signal continuity in Nestle's efficiency drive and focus on nutrition in the eyes of many analysts.