Ross Warburton (pictured) has quit as chairman of embattled chilled foods giant Uniq with immediate effect.

Uniq cited “personal reasons” for the departure of Warburton, who joined the group as deputy chairman three years ago and became chairman in January 2007.

John Warren, who joined the Uniq board as a non-executive director two years ago, steps up to chair the group on an interim basis.

“We would like to thank Ross for his significant contribution to the leadership of Uniq during a challenging period since he joined the board three years ago and wish him well for the future,” Uniq chief executive Geoff Eaton said in a statement.

The news comes with Uniq poised to sell its French chilled and frozen arm, Marie – the only part of the business to turn an operating profit last year – with chicken producer LDC believed to be the front-runner to secure the acquisition.