Bernard Matthews' chief executive Bart Dalla Mura has left the turkey producer, The Grocer has learned.

Dalla Mura, who joined Bernard Matthews in July 2006, is understood to have departed on Monday.

His exit follows a tough year for Bernard Matthews, which suffered an outbreak of deadly H5N1 bird flu at one of its farms in Suffolk in February.

During the episode it emerged the company was routinely moving turkey meat between the farm at the centre of the bird flu outbreak and a facility in Hungary.

There was further controversy when Bernard Matthews received nearly £600,000 in compensation from the government for the 160,000 birds slaughtered to prevent the spread of the disease.

In the wake of the crisis, Bernard Matthews' sales slumped by 40% as worried consumers turned their back on turkey meat.

Following the crisis, Bernard Matthews carried out a comprehensive makeover of its product range in a bid to reposition its products as healthy options.

The revamp had been prompted by celebrity chef Jamie Oliver, who in 2005 famously criticised Bernard Matthews' Turkey Twizzlers in his influential Jamie's School Dinners television series.