Ronnie Bell, the new non-executive chairman of Premier Foods, is expected to tackle the food manufacturing giant's debt mountain.

Bell, the former president of Kraft Foods Europe, was appointed to the role this week following a five-month search. He will join on 1 October, replacing David Kappler who announced plans to step down in February after six years in the role.

His appointment was welcomed by the City, where sources said shareholders would expect Bell to cut, more rapidly, Premier's £1.4bn debt. The company revealed in April that its net debt had fallen £100m to £1.375bn. It will update the City in August.

Analysts also agreed that Bell's experience at Kraft, spanning more than 30 years, would be "beneficial" at Premier. He held a number of senior roles at Kraft, and was European president for five years, with responsibility for the group's coffee, chocolate and grocery brands.

"Ronnie brings with him a wealth of experience," said Premier Foods CEO Robert Schofield. "I look forward to working with him as we focus on delivering organic growth and reducing debt."

This week, Bell stepped down as a non-exec at Northern Foods, after five years, to take up the role. He is also non-exec chairman for Milk Link, and a non-exec director for The Edrington Group and healthcare group Ansell.

Meanwhile, Charles Miller Smith has been appointed non-executive deputy chairman of Premier Foods.