Northern Foods’ chief executive Pat O’Driscoll has been replaced by Stefan Barden, the director formerly responsible for its chilled and remaining bakery divisions.

Northern Foods said O’Driscoll will work closely with him over the next three months to ensure a smooth handover. Pat O’Driscoll joined Northern Foods in March 2004 and led the company through the sale of its chilled pastry, flour milling, speciality bread and cakes businesses, which was completed last month.

Barden said: "I am pleased to be leading Northern Foods in the next phase of its growth. We will win in our chosen markets through a relentless focus on consumers."