David Potts, former CEO of Nom Dairy UK, is to lead a new UK division for French dairy co-op Maîtres Laitiers du Cotentin.

Potts, who left Nom at the end of December, has been appointed general manager for the UK operations of MLC, which specialises in supplying own-label French dairy products, including cheeses, fromage frais and crème fraîche, to foodservice and retail.

Potts’ appointment is seen by experts as a canny move for MLC given his background in launching UK dairy start-ups. He joined Müller in 1990 as sales director and was key in spearheading its UK push ahead of the building of its Market Drayton site.

After spending two years as commercial director at Dairy Farmers of Britain, he was given the task of setting up the UK arm of Austrian dairy giant Nom. It was announced he was leaving and would be replaced by Christoph Wenisch last October.

MLC currently supplies one of the big four with own-label dairy products but wants to grow its UK business. Currently, Potts is the sole UK employee, but he will be recruiting a team in due course.

Based in Normandy, the 900 farms in the MLC co-operative produce approximately 340 million litres of milk a year and MLC owns three production sites, focusing on fresh dairy products, pressed cheese and Isigny AOP crème fraîche and butters.

Sixty per cent of MLC’s business is own-label, something on which the co-op places great emphasis. Its website claims it “is completely and culturally dedicated to private label” and that its R&D department is “100% dedicated to the elaboration of private-label recipes”.

A further 30% of MLC’s business comes from its brands, and 10% is made up of business from industrial clients.