Thorntons has appointed Keith Hurdman as master chocolatier in a move to modernise the specialist chocolate retailer’s image.

Hurdman joins from Melt Chocolates, where he has been master chocolatier for two years. He has more than 25 years’ international confectionery experience and has worked as corporate pastry chef for the Rocco Forte Hotels in the UK and Russia, executive confectioner and chocolatier for Bettys & Taylors in the UK, as well as a number of pastry chef positions in Switzerland.

His appointment follows the departure of master chocolatier Barry Colenso, who resigned in October.

Hurdman joins Thorntons as the retailer trials new concept stores designed to create a more foodie environment. The five trial stores feature large deli counters displaying products and an in-store chocolatier who makes treats by hand.

“Keith has a solid track record,” said Thorntons CEO Mike Davies. “He has experience in product development in both traditional and contemporary chocolate products and we look forward to working with him closely and continuing our tradition of product innovation.”