Tetley has appointed Graeme Karavis to the newly created role of MD for the UK and Ireland.

Karavis was most recently trading director at Premier Foods. He has previously held senior positions at Coca-Cola Enterprises.

Tetley owner Tata Global Beverages said he would bring “in-depth knowledge of the retail environment and a wealth of experience in sales and marketing” to the role. It added that the appointment was part of its plans to build a more category-focused business model.

“It’s easy to sit in front of a customer and tell them that we understand the growth drivers in tea and the barriers to growth. The real skill is being able to demonstrate tangible creative solutions to help customers achieve growth in the category,” Karavis said.

“By bringing the different elements of our sales and marketing together and overlaying this with our capabilities in customer and shopper insight, my vision is to achieve trusted, collaborative partner status for Tetley, to reshape the tea market and build a stronger future for the category as a whole and our place within it.”

Tea sales fell 1.4% on volumes down 6.1% last year [Nielsen], while sales of Tetley Round plummeted 15.8%. Karavis attributed the decline to the current “promotional drug”.

“The shopping experience in the tea aisle is too functional at the moment,” he added. “We have to make it more emotive and really shout about the heritage of the brands and different flavours as that’s what will ultimately create loyalty.”