Uniq's high profile chief executive Sir Ross Buckland is to retire in April ­ more than 18 months earlier than expected. Sir Ross told The Grocer that the imminent demerger of the Wincanton business meant the timing was right for his early retirement. "One always prefers evolution to revolution and what we are looking at is management change that is evolutionary. "Wincanton will need to be sold to the investment community. And with the significant changes at Uniq, that business also needs to be remarketed to the investment community. That should be done by people who will be running the business in three years' time." Sir Ross said there was also a pressing personal reason for his decision to retire and return to his Australian homeland: it would improve the quality of life for his wife, Pat, an arthritis sufferer. He admitted leaving the UK would be a "great wrench". Sir Ross said: "It is the most difficult decision I have ever made. But it is the right decision for us as a family." Sir Ross came to the UK 20 years ago to run Kellogg's European operations. He moved to Unigate where he has spent the last 10 years re-engineering the business. He has also played an active role on the industry front ­ particularly at IGD and the FDF. He was knighted in 1997 for services to the food industry and the environment. Sir Ross will stay on with chairman Ian Martin to implement the demerger, and will then leave. Terry Stannard, chief executive of Uniq Convenience Foods, will become chief executive of Uniq plc. Chas Lawrence will continue as Wincanton boss. Finance director John Worby will become deputy chairman and assume responsibility for Malton. {{NEWS }}