Convenience foods manufacturer Uniq has appointed Stephen Draisey managing director of its UK business.

Draisey, who takes up his new role on 2 June, previously held a number of senior positions with Geest and Bakkavör Group where he worked for 17 years, most recently as managing director of its £450m desserts, ready meals, soups, sauces, pasta and chilled bread division. He has also worked for J Marr Seafoods and Northern Foods.

"I am absolutely delighted that we have been able to secure a managing director of Stephen's calibre, particularly given his level of experience across such a wide range of disciplines, product categories and customers," said Geoff Eaton, group chief executive officer of Uniq. "Stephen joins Uniq at an exciting and challenging time and he is the ideal candidate to lead the final phase of our recovery."

Draisey replaces Howard Sims, who will now focus on commercial and new product development. Sims has been managing director of Uniq's UK division since May 2006 and has also worked for Grampian Country Food Group, where he set up its convenience foods division, and Northern Foods, where he looked after the chilled foods business. Rick Turnbull will continue in the role of UK chairman.

This March Uniq said it had returned to profit, reporting a pre-tax profit of £1.9m for the year to 31 December 2007 compared with a £21.9m loss in 2006.

However, the group warned that recovery would take two years longer than the originally predicted three years due to tough trading conditions.

Last month, Uniq said it needed to reduce production capacity and reorganise its business to generate profitable growth. It said it would close its factory in Paignton, Devon, and transfer production to its sites in Evercreech, Somerset, and Minsterley, Shropshire.