Allied Bakeries has hired former Warburtons executive Martin Garlick as category director.

Garlick has extensive experience in bakery, having joined Warburtons in 2002 and held a number of senior sales roles there.

Most recently he led Warburtons’ expansion into bagged snacks as snacks business director. First launched in 2010, its range of baked pitta chips was relaunched for a second time last year as Warburtons Escapes.

Garlick also worked as category director for the family-run baker.

Now in the same role at rival baker Allied, Garlick will work across its portfolio of bread brands, including Kingsmill, Burgen and Sunblest. The role involves managing the category team, which works directly with retailers to maximise category sales.

“Bakery is a fantastic category to work in, a staple for consumers and therefore a critical sector for our customers,” said Garlick. “It has, and always will be, one of the key categories within their stores, so I am delighted to be joining the Allied Bakeries team and look forward to working closely with our trade partners to ensure that together we grow and develop a bakery category fit for the future.”

The appointment comes as Allied’s flagship brand Kingsmill closes in on the UK’s second-biggest bread brand Hovis. After winning a contract from the Premier Foods-owned brand to supply The Co-op, Kingsmill sales climbed 3.3% last year to £358.8m as Hovis’ sales dropped 8.4% to £368.3m [Nielsen 52 w/e 12 October 2013].