Nichols has recruited Andrew Milne from Coca-Cola Enterprises to become its new UK commercial director.

Milne will join the maker of Vimto drinks on 1 July. He has been sales director for the Northern region at Coca-Cola Enterprises since 2008.

Prior to CCE, he worked at GlaxoSmithKline for eight years as a trading director.

Milne fills the hole left by Marnie Millard, who was managing director of Vimto for several months before she took over from longstanding Nichols chief executive Brendan Hynes in March.

Millard said she was delighted to recruit someone of Milne’s calibre to the role.

“He brings with him a wealth of soft drink credentials, having worked with some fantastic brands, across all channels of grocery, wholesale, out of home and foodservice. I am sure he will have a huge impact,” Millard said.

In his new role, Milne will be responsible for driving the growth of the UK business, including brands such as Sunkist and Panda as well as Vimto.

Milne will also be working with Millard to ensure the success of the launch of Extreme drinks - Nichols’ first foray into energy drinks.

Nichols has signed a licensing agreement with the Extreme Sports Company - owner of the Extreme Sports Channel - to make sports and energy drinks, both in 500ml bottles, under the Extreme brand.

At the start of the year, Nichols said it would reduce the level of promotional activity in the UK market in order to improve margins.