Jamie Oliver has promoted Guy Mottershead to MD of Fresh Retail Ventures, the company behind his eponymous grocery brand, after the executive director transformed it from a business making "significant" losses to one that managed to double its sales in a year.

Mottershead, who takes up the newly created lead role immediately, is credited with overseeing FRV's switch to a pure licensing model in 2009, which effectively handed back responsibility for dealing with retailers to its manufacturing partners.

Prior to 2009, FRV was suffering from "significant" losses but it doubled annual retail sales of its food products to £30m between 2009 and 2010.

Mottershead said Oliver and the CEO of Jamie Oliver Holdings, John Jackson, had given him the promotion because of his role in improving the business's performance.

"Managing director is a step up and recognition of what we've managed to do, including the move to the pure licence model," he said. "From a standing start, we have eight food licensees, achieved significant distribution of our ambient range and moved forward on chilled lines.

"Jamie has a real hands-on role with developing our lines, and is very excited about the new licensing model as it allows us to operate more quickly. Honestly, I don't know how he fits everything in."

Mottershead joined FRV in mid-2007 having spent the previous 18 months working privately to establish the UK manufacturing operations of Nom Dairy.

Before that, he spent seven years at Müller where he headed up the company's business development and innovation operations. In his earlier career, he held marketing roles at Heinz and Campbell's.

As managing director, he said his role and responsibilities would remain unchanged at the London office, but expected a "particularly exciting" 2011 owing to Oliver's busy TV schedule.

"It's going to be a another big media year for Jamie, which is great news for FRV, especially with regards to expanding our lines into international markets."