Heinz is to combine its frozen and chilled foods operations into one fully integrated UK & Ireland business, it has confirmed.

Brands such as Aunt Bessie's and Weight Watchers from Heinz will now be managed alongside beans and table sauces.

Heinz said the integration would enable it to deliver greater product innovation in the future. The integration was not a cost-saving initiative but part of a strategy to develop growth opportunities, insisted a spokesman.

All functions of the frozen and chilled foods operations will be handed over to Heinz UK & Ireland, headed by president Dave Woodward. The company's frozen and chilled desserts business, meanwhile, is to become a freestanding unit in a bid to accelerate growth in the Ross, American Dream and Devonshire brands.

Following the reshuffle, John Hans has been made chief commercial officer of Heinz UK & Ireland. Hans was previously MD of the Heinz Frozen & Chilled business and previously worked in the US business for more than 10 years. Paul Lees becomes vice president sales for Heinz UK & Ireland while Marc Dubery becomes director of global Tesco, Heinz UK & Ireland.