Hotel Chocolat store front

Hotel Chocolat Group has appointed Stephen Alexander as its new non-executive chair.

Alexander is replacing Andrew Gerrie, who had previously announced his intention to step down as of this week.

Alexander comes with over 20 years of experience of chair roles in public and private equity-backed companies. He has worked predominantly in the consumer sector, at companies including Dairy Crest, Immediate Media, Rhubarb Foods, EMI Group, Odeon Cinemas, AWAS Aircraft Leasing and Meridien Hotels.

Prior to this, he was CEO of Hillsdown Holdings, and he previously spent 17 years at Allied Domecq, where he was CEO of both the food and retailing divisions.

Alexander is also currently an operating partner with private equity group OpCapita.

Hotel Chocolat also confirmed Jon Akehurst, whose appointment as chief financial officer was initially announced in February, will take up his role as on 15 May. A chartered accountant, Akehurst has held leadership roles with General Mills and Mars.

“Stephen’s significant experience chairing companies in the food manufacturing and retail space in the UK and overseas will be invaluable as we take the business through its next chapter of growth,” said Hotel Chocolat CEO Angus Thirlwell. “With Jon joining our team too, we have materially boosted the leadership and board firepower.

“I would like to thank Andrew Gerrie for all he has brought to Hotel Chocolat during his tenure,” he added.