Ian York, the former commercial director of Premier Foods, has returned to ambient grocery as the new sales director of Symington’s.

Joining at the start of this month, York takes on the sales job from Tim North, who will be moving into a new role as trade marketing director with responsibility for own label, category management and promotional investment.

York, 53, spent over 10 years at Premier Foods before quitting in October 2011. But after consulting for the past year, he was ready for a fresh challenge.

“Symington’s is a fast-growing, entrepreneurial and innovation-led business, and when [CEO] David [Salkeld] offered me the job, I thought, ‘I’ll have some of that.’

“Symington’s has repeatedly grown double digits throughout the recession. At Premier, everyone thought it was Christmas when we achieved 1%-2% at Symington’s you can achieve double-digit growth and still not hit budget.”

York was also looking forward to having new news to sell. “Other companies pay lip service to NPD. But Symington’s is launching 200 new products a year. And it’s equally comfortable innovating in own label as it is in the branded arena.”

The board-level position would effectively split the sales function in two, York added. “At Premier, I was responsible for the works. And in a much bigger company. David wants me to focus on channel strategy and development, sales planning, and keeping our customers happy.”

Symington’s, whose brands include Chicken Tonight, Campbell’s, Ragu, Golden Wonder, Food Doctor and Ainsley Harriott, announced this week that production of its noodles, currently manufactured in China, would return to a new facility at its Leeds HQ in August.