Croft joined the society in 1991 to develop food safety, quality and environmental management systems in food manufacturing across the UK. As head of Co-op brands and technical, he was responsible for a wide range of own-label products from a number of suppliers worldwide.
Croft previously trained as an environmental health officer and worked in local government. He also holds a BSc and MSc in environmental health.
A spokeswoman for The Co-operative Group said: “This is obviously a great opportunity for David and we wish him good luck in his new role.”
A spokeswoman for Cadbury said Croft’s appointment reflected the importance of driving ethical sourcing across its global business. He will be based at head office in London and will report directly to its president of global supply chain sourcing Matthew Litobarkski.