Julian Hunt is leaving his role as communications director of industry body the Food and Drink Federation after more than four years to join Coca-Cola Enterprises.

Hunt, a former editor of The Grocer, will leave his post in early February to take up the position of vice president GB for public affairs and communications at the soft drinks giant.

During his time at the FDF, Hunt was responsible for leading communications and health and wellbeing work during a challenging time for the industry, playing a key role in the fight against traffic-light ­labelling.

"As a member of our senior management team, Julian has made an immense contribution to FDF in his four years with us," said FDF director general Melanie Leech. "He will be greatly missed by colleagues here but we wish him every success."

Hunt said he was looking forward to a set of new challenges at CCE.

"I have loved working at the FDF and am proud to have been part of a team that has been so successful in building our profile and strengthening our reputation as the key trade association for such an important manufacturing industry," he said.

"But I felt it was time for a new set of challenges. I am really excited by the role at CCE, which is a fantastic opportunity to work within a fast-moving corporate environment and for some of the biggest brands in our business."

Hunt will be replacing Erika Coghlan, who is moving to the NFU as director of communications from January.