Jeff van der eems

Jeff van der Eems has stepped down as chief executive officer of United Biscuits with immediate effect, only one year after taking up the role. 

UB executive chairman Jim Zaza will assume the CEO’s responsibilities for the foreseeable future.

“It has been a distinct pleasure to lead United Biscuits during a period where we re-established our presence on the world stage,” said Van der Eems, who spent 11 years with the business and became CEO in March 2015. “Having secured the sale and transition to Yildiz Holding, it is an opportune time for me to step down and pursue other opportunities.”

Yildiz Holding chairman Murat Ülker added: “I thank Jeff personally for his tireless commitment to revitalising United Biscuits and ensuring a smooth integration with Yildiz Holding. “I wish him all the best with his future endeavours.”

Separately, The Grocer has learnt Ian Deste, Burton’s Biscuit Company’s MD for UK & Ireland, has quit the business after just five months in the job.

Burton’s confirmed Deste’s departure, in December, but refused to provide further details. “Simon Browne, chief operating officer, has since taken responsibility of all UK commercial activities,” it said.

It is not known at this stage whether Browne’s extended remit is permanent or whether the company is seeking a direct replacement for Deste. 

Deste joined Burton’s in August after a restructuring of the commercial marketing function. He reported into chief executive Ben Clarke. He previously worked for Premier Foods, where he served in various senior roles. 

Browne joined Burton’s last June and previously worked for GSK as vice-president of global customer supply chain and at Reckitt Benckiser in two supply director roles.