Tate & Lyle has announced that its group finance director John Nicholas, is to leave after just two years, as the company struggles with a dramatic rise in debt. Nicholas is to step down this week by mutual agreement. Director of investor relations Tim Lodge will temporarily take over his duties until a new group finance director is appointed.

“The board would like to thank John for all he has done for Tate & Lyle and wish him every success in the future,” said Sir David Lees, chairman.

Meanwhile, Tate & Lyle has announced that its first half-year profits are expected to be in line with the company’s expectations, and are predicted to match the same period last year, despite the challenging market. However, the supplier’s debt from March until August increased by £108m to £1.149bn. The board will announce the company’s first half results in November.