Ella’s Kitchen UK sales director Doug Struthers is relocating to the States to spearhead growth of the organic baby and kids’ food brand across the pond.

Struthers, who joined Ella’s Kitchen in December 2008, has been promoted to CEO of the company’s US subsidiary Ella’s Kitchen Inc and leaves next month. The UK business is now recruiting for his replacement.

Ella’s Kitchen was launched in the UK in 2006 and entered the US three years later. Over the past year, retail sales for the US business have increased 530% to $18m.

The US subsidiary has its own manufacturing partners, sales force and marketing team on the ground and accounts for about 20% of Ella’s total turnover. The company was looking to grow this to 50% over the next 12 to 18 months and was targeting $60m in its next financial year, said Struthers.

Ella’s already has 12 products listed in the US across a number of large retailers including Target, Whole Foods Market and Kroger. By the end of 2011 it expects to have roughly half of its UK product range listed.

Struthers will begin building up the US business from August from a base in the North East Tri-State area and said his number one priority would be recruiting a local team to support the existing consultants working for the company. “The big challenge has been getting the right raw materials and enough product on shelf repeatedly and sustainably,” he said. “From the start we always had the vision that the US would be big for us. Many businesses we’re currently trading with have bigger footprints than Tesco in the UK so it’s an incredible opportunity we have over there.”

“Ella’s message of premium quality ingredients in innovative packaging is the same wherever we go and products have resonated as well in the US as they have in the UK.”

Prior to joining Ella’s Kitchen, Struthers founded Frumba, the company behind Fruvo snack bars. He was also a sales director at The Burnt Sweet Company from 2006 to 2008.