Hovis has filled its long-vacant position of chief executive today with former Dairy Crest managing director Martyn Wilks. 

The appointment comes three months after former chief executive Bob Spooner’s departure to become chief supply officer at Treasury Wine Estates.

Wilks held the post of executive managing director at Dairy Crest from 2007 to March this year and has been credited with developing its innovation capability and playing a key role in the development of its brands.

Nish Kankiwala, Hovis executive chairman, said: “Martyn has extensive experience in a business that is very similar to our own. He has strong relationships with our key customers and his innovation experience is a perfect fit for the ambitions we have to develop our business and grow the category.

“He understands the challenging trading environment and has a proven track record for success in achieving growth by improving operational and organisational capabilities. He has effectively built brands and categories through innovation-driven strategies and I’m confident that he will deliver sustainable growth for Hovis.”

Wilks said: ““Hovis is such an iconic brand and I’m looking forward to working in partnership with Nish, the executive team and the board to grow the brand and the category.

“I am joining the company at a time when Hovis has recently seen the strongest growth performance out of the three major bread brands in the UK and it is also currently perceived as the healthiest brand in the market.

“With a foundation as strong as this, along with a dynamic and energised team, I’m thrilled to be part of the next Hovis chapter.”

Hovis last week appointed Telefonica UK’s Sharon Barraclough as its first innovation director to lead the brand’s NPD programme and, last month, Tim Stoller began as Hovis’ first convenience director.

The company continues its search for a chief financial officer following Michael Kennedy’s departure in January this year.