The former boss of Kettle Chips Australia has been named as the new commercial director of Tyrrells.

In a newly created role, David Milner will head up a six-member sales team and a marketing team of two, and will be based at Tyrrells' farm headquarters in Herefordshire. A key responsibility will be to spearhead the upmarket crisp maker's expansion into overseas markets.

Milner claimed Tyrrells was attracted by his experience in global food roles.

"We have significant growth plans for this year, which include entering markets in Europe and the US," he said. "Europe doesn't have a premium chip category and we will have an advantage with the pound-to-euro exchange rate."

There was scope to expand the brand's small presence in New York, with exports blossoming thanks to Tyrrells' typically English positioning, he predicted.

Although he described overseas expansion as "an exciting prospect", Milner said his immediate priority was to improve distribution of the crisps in the UK, which are currently stocked in Waitrose, Sainsbury's and The Co-operative Group.

"My challenge is to maintain the quality and premium appeal of Tyrrells while making it more readily available to consumers. We have a product that if we can get it into people's hands they love. At the moment it's not stocked in enough retailers."

He added that the premium crisps category was becoming congested and predicted that it would be a challenge to "keep a high quality of product among all market entrants".

Milner has a 20-year background in the food industry, having held multinational roles in a variety of areas from senior marketing and general management to strategy and acquisitions.

Prior to joining Tyrrells, which was bought by private equity firm Langholm Capital for £30m in May 2008, Milner was commercial director of Baxters Soup. He is credited with leading Baxters' brand revamp in August 2009.

Kettle Chips, the leading premium crisp maker, was sold to US snack group Diamond Foods for $615m (£404m) in February.