Premier Foods chief operating officer Tim Kelly is to leave the company following a management reshuffle.

The departure of Kelly – touted as a candidate for the top job before Michael Clarke took the reins – came as Premier announced changes to its leadership team in a bid to “strengthen focus” on the company’s growth plan.

Premier is creating two new group executive managing director roles for its grocery and newly configured bakery businesses. Both will report directly to Clarke.

Iwan Williams, 52, will oversee the company's £1.1bn bread, cake, milling and own label Brookes Avana businesses, beginning this month.

His previous roles include president of McCormicks Europe, Middle East and Africa and strategic marketing director of Coca- Cola for the Asia Pacific region. He also held positions at SC Johnson Wax and Cadbury Schweppes.

Meanwhile, Premier has poached 2 Sisters Food Group’s Graham Hunter to be MD of its £1bn grocery business. Hunter, 47, was MD of Northern Foods’ branded Fox’s biscuits and Goodfella’s pizza divisions. He has also held management and marketing roles at Jacob's Bakery and Mars.

Hunter begins at Premier in early 2012.

"We are pleased to have attracted two outstanding individuals to these new key roles and I look forward to working with them both as we start to rebuild the company," said Clarke. “I also want to thank Tim for his contribution and leadership over the years.”

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Premier Foods to focus on supply chain consolidation (29 October 2011)
Clarke: ‘With focus on power brands, I can save Premier’ (15 October 2011)