Premier Foods has denied claims of succession planning after it unveiled a board and organisational reshuffle this week.

The Mr Kipling cakes maker announced the changes in a bid to "reinvogorate" its portfolio of brands. As part of the changes, Premier appointed Tim Kelly, current chief operating officer for the Hovis and chilled divisions, to the new role of COO for all brands and commercial operations within grocery and Hovis.

Kelly is a former chief operating officer for RHM and joined Premier when the manufacturer acquired RHM in March 2007.

Premier's ambient grocery managing director Will Carter steps down as a result of the reshuffle. Carter has been at Premier for two-and-a-half years and is a former director of United Biscuits.

Premier dismissed suggestions the restructure was in anticipation of changes in the chilled business, which include cakes, ready meals and Quorn, all of which have been the subject of sale rumours over the past year.

In August, Premier said it remained "open-minded" about disposals to tackle its £1.6bn debt pile.

It responded to speculation last week about a bid for Quorn by Nestlé's subsidiary Osem Group, confirming it had received bids from a number of parties including multinational food groups and private ­equity firms. It said discussions were at an "advanced stage with two parties" but stressed there was no guarantee a sale would take place. Premier confirmed last month that it had received approaches for its East Anglian canning operations after Princes was touted as a possible suitor.

Premier insisted the changes, taking effect from 1 January, would align its structure more closely with its corporate strategy announced earlier this year and would help it accelerate branded growth through a greater focus on brand-building and product innovation.

Premier has also appointed Jon Goldstone, currently marketing director of Hovis, to the new role of group marketing director, reporting to Kelly.