Burton Foods has appointed former Kraft executive Ben Clarke as its new CEO, having completed a restructure of its ownership.

Investment groups Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce and Apollo Global Management have taken a controlling stake in the company after agreeing a debt-for-equity deal with former owner Duke Street, which retains a minority stake in the company.

This was a good time for Clarke to join the biscuit maker as it was now on a more sound financial footing, which would allow it to grow, said the chairman of Burton Foods, Brian Buchan.

"As well as there being much less debt on the balance sheet, the banks are planning for the long term with an adjusted payment schedule, which will give us the headroom we need to invest in the business."

A restructure of the balance sheet was needed as the company had run into trouble almost immediately after Duke Street's takeover in 2007, he said.

The levels of debt taken on by the company at the time were reasonable but the business had been knocked off course by rocketing commodity prices that began to shoot up at the same time.

Clarke was "the right person, with the right skills to take the business forward", Buchan said.

Although he would not reveal any details of the company's plans going forward, he said Clarke would initially be tasked with growing Burton's three core ranges, Jammie Dodgers, Maryland cookies, and the Cadbury's chocolate biscuits range.

Clarke succeeds Paul Kitchener, who recently stepped down due to ill health, and was most recently area director and vice president Kraft Foods UK & Ireland. He previously held a similar role in the Australia and New Zealand division and had also been category director for coffee and confectionery.

"The investment potential that our new capital structure affords in combination with Burton's portfolio of brands offers an unparalleled opportunity to accelerate growth for both the company and our customers," said Clarke.