Former Gallo UK sales director Lloyd Stephens has joined Thresher as its new trading director.

He replaces Alex Anson, who has moved to Switzerland to take up the role of European buying director for airport shop operator Nuance.

Anson had made a "fantastic" contribution to the business, said Thresher Group chief executive Roger Whiteside, who added: "He has been part of the team that has helped drive changes in the group. I'll be sad to see him go, but its a big career move for him."

Stephens, who first joined Ernest & Julio Gallo in 1994 as a sales representative, said he would take time to understand the challenges facing the Thresher business before deciding on a strategy.

"This is a fantastic opportunity to work with a pro-active team and a successful business. Multiple specialists are under extreme pressure as grocers move on to the high street, but I believe a healthy multiple specialist sector is critical for the UK market," he added.