Former Hovis chief Dave Pickup has been named as the new sales director of McVitie’s and Hula Hoops manufacturer United Biscuits UK.

In addition to heading up UBUK’s sales team, providing strategic leadership and driving the sales function of the business, Pickup will be tasked with developing the company’s health and sustanability agenda.

UBUK has a number of targets to reduce saturated fats and sodium across the majority of its snack and biscuits range and Pickup will have an active role in meeting these challenges. He will also ensure the brands meet the sustainable and eco-friendly demands set out in UBUK’s Sustainability Manifesto, launched in January.

“With so many household brands in the company portfolio, it’s a very exciting time to join UBUK and I can’t wait to get under the skin of the business,” said Pickup, who replaces former sales director Peter Utting, who, in March, was named as the new chief executive of fruits, nuts and seeds supplier Whitworths.

Prior to the appointment, Pickup spent three years as divisional sales director for Hovis bread brand, which was owned by RHM before Premier acquired the business last March. Before this, he held a variety of positions at household goods giant Procter & Gamble, including channel sales director for the major UK retailers.

“This is a key role for our business so we are pleased to have someone with such a proven background to lead our sales team,” said Benoit Testard, MD of UBUK.

UBUK’s like-for-like sales grew 5% to £1.1bn last year. It was one of the first food and drink companies to commit to a new initiative launched last week to cut carbon emissions on Britain’s roads by sharing transport with other companies.