North Downs Dairy, the company behind Pilgrims Choice cheese, has named Alastair Jackson its new managing director.

He rejoins the company, where he was previously a commercial manager, from Kerrygold manufacturer Irish Dairy Board, where he was marketing director for its consumer foods division. He replaces Mike Davies who is retiring in April after five years.

"Building a strong, sustainable market position in the UK for Pilgrims Choice, and also targeting selected export markets, represents a significant opportunity," Jackson said. "We will also be looking to enhance our strong partnership with consumers, customers and suppliers, which are all vital for future success."

According to The Grocer's Top Products Survey, Pilgrims Choice is the seventh biggest cheese brand, with sales up 62.1% to £46.2m in the 12 months to 4 October. A £3m advertising campaign has recently been launched to highlight the brand's move into resealable packs.

"Alastair will bring real value to the company, and I know the team is looking forward to working closely with him once more," said Davies. "I have every confidence he will rise to the challenge ahead."