Dairy Crest’s group milk procurement director Mark Taylor is to leave the dairy giant at the beginning of next year.

Taylor, who has been in the role since 2009, spearheaded the launch of Dairy Crest’s milk&more doorstep delivery service.

He has held a number of other roles at Dairy Crest, including commercial and marketing director for its dairies division and managing director of liquid products. He started his dairy career as commercial director at Wessex Dairies and has also been a general manager for food manufacturer Northern Foods.

Taylor would leave Dairy Crest in January after“deciding to take on new challenges”, Dairy Crest said. He will be replaced by Mike Sheldon, who has been managing director of Dairy Crest’s Customer Direct business since August 2006.

Sheldon will have a good understanding of what the role involves, having held the role before. In the position he will head up Dairy Crest’s milk sourcing team as well as some customer relationship management.

The job was incredibly tough, one source claimed: “I wouldn’t want to be a farm liaison guy. You’ve got to have a very thick skin,” the source said. He also praised the strong milk procurement team which Taylor will hand over to Sheldon.

The changeover comes at a challenging time for Dairy Crest. Earlier this month, the company reported profits at its fresh liquid milk dairies division had crashed 89% to £1.2m, excluding gains made through the sale of property, following the closure of four depots.

The company blamed its performance on the need to pay farmers a better price for their milk, as well as the supermarket fresh milk price wars which dramatically reduced milk prices. “The need to pay farmers a higher price coupled with fierce retail price competition has put pressure on margins throughout the supply chain,” it said.