Gavin Darby, chief executive of Mr Kipling owner Premier Foods, has been appointed president-elect of the Food & Drink Federation (FDF) from next year, succeeding Dame Fiona Kendrick.

The announcement was made at FDF’s annual president’s reception at the Marriott County Hall Hotel, London.

The event was attended by almost 300 food and drink manufacturers, MPs and other stakeholders, including Andrea Leadsom, secretary of state for the environment, food and rural affairs.

Darby and FDF director general Ian Wright paid tribute to Dame Kendrick, noting the achievements made over the past two years.

Dame Kendrick said it had been a pleasure to be FDF president and that the organisation had come a long way.

“Under Ian Wright’s leadership, supported by me and my executive committee colleagues, FDF has become an organisation that not only promotes the food and drink industry, but helps to lead it,” she said.

“President-elect Gavin Darby is an articulate and determined champion of the food and drink industry and I believe he is very well-placed to lead the next chapter in FDF’s development. I wish him every success in his new role.”

Darby, who will take up his role of president of the organisation in January 2017, will provide strategic input and leadership to FDF, chair its executive committee and act as an FDF and industry ambassador.