Nestlé has confirmed that Paul Grimwood, the current head of its UK confectionery division, will succeed Alastair Sykes as chief executive of Nestlé UK & Ireland at the end of the year.

Sykes is stepping down after seven years as chairman and chief executive of the business. He will continue to serve as non-executive chairman until the end of 2009 to provide continuity and support to his successor. 

The move coincides with the completion of Sykes’ term as president of IGD, the grocery industry information provider.

During his stewardship of Nestlé’s confectionery division, Grimwood led a three-year business improvement plan, which involved refocusing on its core confectionery brands including Kit Kat, Aero and Smarties. He was previously MD of Nestlé UK petcare.

Grimwood will be succeeded as head of UK confectionery by David Rennie, currently the division’s marketing director.