Well-known grocery figure Jim Wills died on Wednesday 23 May.

Wills was 70 years old and had worked in the grocery industry for 30 years - holding a number of senior positions. He started his career in the army, where he served for five years, before joining Pedigee Petfoods in 1960. During his time there he held a number of senior roles and was also part of the team that launched Whiskas cat food to the trade.

In 1975 he was appointed sales director at Greens of Brighton, part of Pillsbury UK, where, initially with Jimmy Jensen and then Bruce Noble at the helm, he helped grow the UK business significantly. At the time some of the brands within his portfolio included Green Giant, Hammonds Sauces, Fiesta Ice Cream and Greens of Brighton.

Following Grand Metropolitan's acquisition of Pillsbury in 1989, Wills was appointed sales director at HomePride before going into consultancy within the trade.

He retired in the early 1990s, splitting his time between the UK and Spain. He was well known in the grocery trade for his work with the IGD and the National Grocers Benevolent Fund, which is now known as Caravan. It provides help and support to former grocery workers, who have fallen on hard times.

For many years he was also an active Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Marketing and a member of the International Association of Chain Stores. He leaves his wife Molly and two sons, Andrew and Willem.