Martin Oakes has resigned as managing director of Dairy Crest’s dairies division.

Oakes, who joined Dairy Crest from Somerfield in February 2007, has stepped down from the board of directors with immediate effect but will leave the company on 31 January.

Dairy Crest said the position would not be replaced and CEO Mark Allen would take direct control of the division.

Last month, Dairy Crest revealed operating profit in its dairies division had fallen to £2.7m in the six months to 30 September from £13.5m the year before because of higher input costs.

The company also warned its full-year profit would be hit by the tough ingredients market and economic climate.

“We have a strong team in place in our dairies division who will now report directly to Mark Allen,” said chairman Simon Oliver.

“This revised structure will enable us to address the current market challenges and capitalise on the opportunities that we have as the UK's leading dairy company.”