The new boss of Vimto soft drinks has pledged to use her “passion” for innovation and product development to grow the business.

Vimto this week announced that Gerber Juice commercial director Marnie Millard had come on board as managing director, replacing Jonathan Bye, who left the business to join Seabrook Crisps earlier this year. Millard has 17 years’ experience in the soft drinks industry in roles including MD of Refresco and sales & marketing director at Macaw Soft Drinks.

“Vimto Soft Drinks is a growing company in a competitive market and I am confident there is more opportunity for our brands to grow,” said Millard.

“I want to use my passion for NPD to add more value to the business and build on the relationships we have with retailers to drive distribution and availability.

“I’m delighted to be working with great brands that have unique propositions in the market including Vimto, which has a strong British heritage and is well-loved by millions.”

Sales of the Vimto Soft Drinks portfolio, which is led by flagship brand Vimto, have grown 12% year-on-year to £68m [Nielsen 52 w/e 10 November 2012].

Last year, the business - a division of Nichols - expanded its line-up with a range of Levi Roots soft drinks, including a Caribbean Crush flavour that won the Family Beverage categories of The Grocer New Product Awards this year. In January, Vimto linked up with WeightWatchers to launch a range of diet cordials and RTDs.