United Biscuits has promoted its UK managing director Benoit Testard to the role of group chief executive in a major management reshuffle.
Testard, who assumes the new role on Monday, has been UK MD since August 2004, effectively overseeing 70% of UB’s business.
David Fish, who was previously executive chairman and CEO, will take more of a backseat role in the business as its new non-executive chairman.
The company has yet to confirm a successor for the UK MD position.
The management reshuffle follows months of speculation about the future of the company after talks between its private equity parents PAI Partners and Blackstone and Chinese food conglomerate Bright Food to sell the business for an estimated £2bn collapsed. Campbell Soup Company was also linked to a possible break-up bid for the company last summer. UB declined to comment on the sale of the business.
Prior to becoming UK MD, Testard led the group’s Northern Europe business, a role he assumed in 2001 after joining the group as MD of UB France in March 1999. He had previously spent 13 years with cheese producer Fromageries BEL where he began as marketing manager, moving up to sales director and then head of business.
UB, which is behind brands such as Jaffa Cakes, Twiglets and Hula Hoops, posted a 13.7% rise in pre-tax profits to £223.4m in 2009, growing sales by 5.1% to £1.3bn. However it is still carrying about £1.2bn debt on its balance sheet.