Former Premier Foods chief operating officer Geoff Eaton - who left this week after just four months with the company - is hoping to secure a CEO role with a UK business.

On Monday - the day new CEO Gavin Darby started work at the Hovis and Mr Kipling owner - Premier announced it was axing the COO position and implementing a “flatter executive management structure” that would enable management to report directly to the CEO.

“As a consequence, the role of chief operating officer will cease to exist,” said a statement, adding that Eaton would step down with immediate effect.

Eaton, formerly CEO at Uniq, was brought in to help oversee Premier’s plans to divide into grocery and bread divisions.

Speaking to The Grocer this week, he said he had enjoyed his time at Premier and felt the business had entered the new year in a positive mood.

He added he was keen to find the next opportunity and was keeping an open mind about what to do next.

“I have very broad experience and enjoy taking on a challenge,” he said, adding that he would want a UK-based position as he had a large family here.

Eaton has a strong track record in restructuring he was CEO of Uniq for six years and helped pull the business back from the brink before completing a break-up and disposal of the company to Greencore.

“I was very proud of what we achieved at Uniq,” he said.

“While much of my experience has been with turnarounds, that is not all I do - I also enjoy building and creating.”

The departure of Eaton is the latest in a string of senior management changes at Premier, with CEO Michael Clarke quitting last month, and managing director Iwan Williams leaving in November.