Martin Porter, sales director for Mars Petcare, is switching from pets to pints with a move to Heineken UK.

He has been appointed sales director for the Foster’s and Strongbow owner’s off-trade division, replacing Mark Gerken, and takes up the role in April.

Heineken UK said it was attracted by the “considerable category management and brand sales experience” Porter had developed in his 16 years at Mars Petcare, which owns Pedigree Chum and Whiskas.

Porter has held a number of sales roles within Mars’ petcare business and was credited with the overhaul of its Pedigree dogfood range last June. The revamp included new packaging, a £7m ­campaign, and a commitment to only use meat that could be traced back to the farm which Mars claimed was a first for the industry.

“Martin leaves behind a superb sales team and I am confident that they will continue to deliver great results,” said Mark Johnson, UK general manager.

Porter will report to Stefan Orlowski, managing director of Heineken UK, who said his sales experience would be an asset to the company.

“Martin will be joining us at a time of huge opportunity and challenge in the industry and we welcome the fresh insight and experience that he will bring to the role.”

Gerken was leaving the beer and cider giant to pursue “other business opportunities”, Orlowski said, adding that Gerken would retain his role as chairman of Heineken UK’s wholesaling business WaverleyTBS.