Mars' food and petcare businesses in the UK, Mars Confectionery and Pedigree Masterfoods, are merging to form Masterfoods (Division of Mars UK Ltd). The new trading identity, it was revealed on Thursday, is effective from January. MD of the merged operations will be Mike Davies, previously managing director of Pedigree Masterfoods. Bill Ronald, previously managing director for Mars Confectionery, and a high profile figure in grocery circles, has decided to leave the business to further his career elsewhere. Fiona Dawson becomes sales director, with Rob Knight, chairman of the IGD and previously Pedigree Masterfoods' sales director, taking up a new role as corporate development director. Chris Page, previously Mars Confectionery sales director, had always planned to retire from the business in January 2002 when he completes 25 years' service, but has agreed to stay on as a director until later in the year, supporting the transition to Masterfoods and retaining his presidency of the Confectioners Benevolent Fund. A statement said the new business stems from a desire to strengthen the synergies which exist within the Mars food businesses in the UK and is consistent with the restructuring which has taken place in many Mars businesses throughout the world. Davies commented:"This is a merger for growth. It reinforces our commitment to provide people and their pets with top quality food products. "We believe it will also make it easier for our trade partners to do business with us. Our aim is for Masterfoods to think, act and be seen as one business." {{NEWS }}