Ronnie Bell, the chairman of under-fire Premier Foods, has stepped down from his role after 21 months.

The board has appointed senior independent director, David Beever, to take on the chairman’s role in the group, which is the parent company behind Rank Hovis.

Commenting on his decision, Bell said: “I’m delighted that we now have the right management, strategic and financial foundations in place to drive Premier Foods’ return to growth. Having set a course to turn the company around, I believe it is an appropriate time to step down. I’m confident that, with Michael Clarke at the helm, the company has a bright future. I’m also very grateful to David Beever for stepping in as chairman to ensure the necessary continuity.”

The board has appointed non-executive director Ian McHoul to take over as senior independent director, once David Beever becomes chairman.