Warburtons has recruited a new managing director from the upper echelons of the PepsiCo executive team in the US.

Neil Campbell, president of Tropicana Beverages North America, will join the family-owned baker in July, having spent five years in Chicago.

He has worked in senior roles at PepsiCo, including general manager for the Walkers business and vice president of marketing for PepsiCo UK. Prior to that, he held several marketing and business development roles at Cadbury.

Originally from the Manchester area, Campbell is returning to his roots by joining Warburtons. “He grew up here and knew the business as a youngster so there is a natural fit there,” said chairman Jonathan Warburton. He added that Campbell’s big brand experience and long-term ambitions made him the best candidate.

Campbell will join Warburtons over a year after former MD Robert Higginson left. Higginson had spent 11 years at Warburtons, including six as managing director.

Since his departure, Warburton has stepped up to lead the business, supported by executive directors Ross and Brett Warburton. When Campbell arrives, he will take over day-to-day management duties and Warburton will continue to work in a supporting role as executive chairman.

Warburton said there would be no major changes of direction resulting from the appointment, as recent sales had been encouraging.

“We’ve had a decent run in a difficult market, although we’re not breaking any pots,” he said.

It has been a busy start to the year for Warburtons. It has kicked off a new £16m ad campaign and relaunched its free-from range as Newburn Bakehouse and its baked pitta snacks as Escapes.