Robert Wiseman Dairies has announced the creation of a new trading department as well as a raft of new appointments to its operational board.

Patrick Davenport who has worked for Wiseman for the past 12 years has been appointed as trading director to head the new team. He will transfer from his existing role of group manager for milk procurement.

The new trading department will have responsibility for the group's supply contracts for balancing milk additional volumes of milk that Wiseman purchases from other groups such as Milk Link and First Milk in periods of tighter supply. It will also oversee trading of bulk cream and milk solids, which are reclaimed during processing and sold for ingredients. The department would "consolidate responsibility for trading under one directorate," said a Wiseman spokesman. "Previously, the responsibilities were split across our commercial and procurement departments."

Neil Hughes has also been promoted internally to the newly created role of engineering director, having previously held the role of group technical manager. Hughes has worked for Wiseman for nine years and was responsible for project management of the commissioning of Wiseman's flagship Bridgwater dairy in Somerset.

The role of HR director which has been vacant since Ian McLean retired last year has been filled by Julian Bell. He joined Wiseman two years ago and has previously worked at Mars and Diageo.

"These appointments are recognition of the contribution that Patrick, Neil and Julian are making to the business and add to the strength in depth that we have on the board as we ­develop the business," said managing director Billy Keane.

The appointments come as Wiseman prepares to close its Okehampton dairy in Devon and Cupar depot in Fife this month.

In its full-year trading update issued last week, Wiseman said it was on track to deliver results in line with the board's ­expectations.