Alison Hunter, principal figure behind next week's IFE 2001 food and drink show in London, has resigned to take up a new job in the international exhibitions business. The surprise announcement came as The Grocer went to press on Thursday. Hunter, 34, managing director of Fresh RM, the joint venture company set up by Montgomery Exhibitions and Reed Exhibition companies, is joining the London-based IIR conference and exhibitions group as European exhibition development director. Hunter told The Grocer: "While I am obviously very sad to be leaving Fresh RM, this was too good an opportunity miss." In a statement, Fresh RM chairman Christopher Newton, said: "Alison's passion for the food and hospitality industry, sense of fun and resilience has won the respect and affection of many and she will be sorely missed." Hunter's departure will come as a major surprise to many in the international, food and drink business. She joined Montgomery Exhibitions 11 years ago, and next week's fair is the second for which she has been senior project leader. It's understood Hunter's new brief will be to develop overseas fairs for IIR. {{NEWS }}