Ken McMeikan, the chief executive of bakery retailer Greggs, is to leave the company to take the top role at foodservice supplier Brakes.

McMeikan will stay with the group, in his role and as a member of the board, until a successor is found with Greggs saying, “this will be announced in due course”.

Announcing his decision to step down, McMeikan said: "It has been a great honour to lead Greggs since 2008. It is a wonderful company with fantastic people and I am enormously proud of all that we have achieved together.

“There are many exciting growth opportunities ahead for the business and the team are well placed to deliver them.”

Derek Netherton, chairman, added “We are very grateful to Ken for the valuable contribution he has made to Greggs. He has led the company through the major changes that have put us in a strong position for the future with a clear strategy for growth in a difficult environment. We wish Ken well in his new role.”

Greggs will update the market on 9 January, 2013.