Milk Link has announced that it is to split the business into separate cheese and milk units and that its current commercial director, Terry Ward, and marketing director, Hamish Renton are stepping down.

The new units, which will come into effect on 1 September, will be headed by former Adams Foods MD Carl Ravenhall and former Milk Link trading and membership director Shelagh Hancock.

Ravenhall will hold the title of MD of Milk Link for cheese, while Hancock will be business unit director for milk. The new structure would "deliver greater commercial and operational focus on our core revenue-generating areas", claimed Milk Link CEO Neil Kennedy.

Under Ravenhall, the new cheese unit, which will incorporate Milk Link's Cheddar creameries, Oswestry packaging facility and speciality cheese and export businesses, would focus on reinforcing its "leadership position in the supply of British cheese to major retailers and foodservice operators", added the co-operative. Hancock, meanwhile, will be in charge of Milk Link's farmer membership, milk supply, trading and ingredients as well as its long-life and flavoured milks business.

Both units will have their own sales, marketing and operational teams, but cross-group functions such as finance, HR and corporate affairs will continue to be run centrally.

The departing Ward is setting up a training consultancy, while Renton has founded a marketing agency. Kennedy said both businesses would be used by Milk Link.