Chief executive of Hovis Bob Spooner has resigned his post to take up an opportunity abroad. 

Nick Kankiwala will remain executive chairman, but a replacement for Spooner, who will leave Hovis at the end of January 2015, has not yet been found.

Spooner joined Premier Foods in 2007 as group supply chain director and subsequently became managing director of the bread business. He has held the position of chief executive since April this year following the completion of a joint venture transaction with The Gores Group, which saw the firm acquire a 51% stake in Hovis, with the remainder held by Premier Foods.

Kankiwala said: “On behalf of the board I’d like to thank Bob for his outstanding contribution to Hovis and to wish him well for the future. He leaves the business in great shape, with Hovis achieving a significant year-on-year increase in profits as the only UK bread brand that is growing.

"We now have the structure, investment and leadership team in place to build on this momentum and ensure the business goes from strength to strength.”

Spooner added: “This decision is for entirely personal reasons and has been particularly difficult for me. The Hovis business has made amazing progress over the past two-and-a-half years and I’ve loved being part of that journey. I wish everyone at Hovis all the very best for the future.”

Fernando Goni, managing director at The Gores Group, said the business continued to progress “both operationally and commercially”.