Walkers Shortbread chairman Peter Simpson has stepped down to be replaced by new non-executive chairman Michael Walker of financial public relations company Broadgate Marketing. He is not related to the Walker family that owns the business. Simpson stays on as non-executive director.

The move comes as part of succession planning at Aberlour-based Walkers.

Nicky Walker becomes production director and, in time, will take over many responsibilities from his father Joseph, who has been in sole charge of production since joining the company in the 1950s, the firm said.

Nicky’s brother Richard has been appointed technical director while David Edwards has joined the company from Scottish & Newcastle as financial director.