Northern butchery chain Crawshaw Group has appointed former Lidl executive Noel Collett as its new CEO.

Collett, who is expected to take up his new role on 1 March 2015, has spent 16 years with the German discounter. He held a number of senior leadership roles in the UK and Germany at the retailer, and for the past 12 years has served as Lidl’s chief operating officer for the UK business.

He was responsible for overseeing the Lidl portfolio growth from 200 outlets to more than 600 and for the roll-out of the in-store “fresh concept”, which included the fresh meat and poultry range, across all the UK shops.

“The Crawshaw business model is unique with a fantastic proposition and the company has very ambitious growth plans for the future,” he said. “I am really looking forward to joining a great team and I am very excited about getting started.”

Crawshaw chairman Richard Rose added: “Noel brings a wealth of value retailing experience along with expertise in business strategy, brand development and business transformation during periods of rapid portfolio and sales growth.

“We are excited by Noel’s appointment and look to the future with great confidence as the business embarks on a period of accelerated store expansion throughout the UK.”

Crawshaw, which operates 21 shops in Yorkshire, Nottinghamshire, Humberside and Lincolnshire, is one of the big success stories in grocery in 2014. It is the best performing stock over the past year with its share price up more than 200% to 53.5p – indeed it was handed the prize for best-performing share at the AIM Awards in October.

It has been seeking a new chief executive since the summer to manage its plan to accelerate a store expansion programme outside its heartlands in response to strong trading. Crawshaw hopes to roll out 200 shops over the next few years – with £8.8m raised from two placings in July to support the move and a new processing and distribution hub set to be operational in Rotherham to service 60 locations.

The value operator has benefited from the rise of the discounters as shoppers abandon the multiples and flock to its stores for cheap deals on a range of pre-packed meat and its food-to-go offering.

Sales climbed from £18.8m to £21m in the year to 31 January 2014, with like-for-like sales up 11%. EBITDA for the period doubled to £1.4m and pre-tax profit rose by £700,000 to £1m. Growth has continued in the first half with turnover up £2m to £11.8m in the six months to the end of July.