Findus Group has poached Heinz's Leala Francis as ­director of UK category management.

Francis joins the frozen giant's UK leadership team on 4 October after five years with Heinz UK, most recently as national account controller for Tesco.

At Heinz, she had full commercial responsibility for the retailer's £45m frozen account, and was also responsible for ­category development and insight and customer ­marketing for the Heinz Tesco account team.

She also held a number of other roles during her time there, including category development controller for Heinz Beans, Heinz Soup and Heinz Baby Food, which included a three-month secondment in Australia.

Francis would be a great addition to the Findus team, said Findus Group UK frozen managing director, Mark Escolme.

"Leala will lead all aspects of the UK frozen category agenda, helping the business to develop and maintain close partnerships with the key account and marketing teams," he said.

Francis has over 12 years of experience in sales and marketing, following stints at various fmcg ­companies including GlaxoSmithKline, Danone and Nutricia.

Her appointment follows a string of new hires by Findus, including Tasha Gladman, who joined as marketing director in August and has been tasked with developing a strategy to revitalise Findus and ­develop Young's.

Louise Patterson also joined the UK frozen business, this month, as HR ­director on the UK leadership team.