UK – Premier Foods, the Mr Kipling cakes and Bisto gravy owner has appointed Alex Whitehouse, its UK managing director as the company’s new chief executive officer.

Whitehouse will take over from Alastair Murray who has been serving as the acting chief executive for the last seven months.

According to a Reuters report, the company also announced that its finance head Alastair Murray would step down and has appointed Group Director of financial control and corporate development Duncan Leggett as acting chief financial officer.

Premier Foods has also welcomed ex-Reckitt chief financial officer Colin Day as the new chairman of the company following the recent resignation of Keith Hamill, who stepped down as chair after less than two years.

Commenting on the appointments, senior independent board director Richard Hodgson said: “I am delighted that Colin Day is joining the company as chairman, a role to which he will bring extensive experience at a pivotal time in the company’s history.

“We are also very pleased that Alex Whitehouse, who has led the successful turnaround of our UK business, has accepted the role of group CEO.

“On behalf of the board I would like to thank Alastair Murray for his outstanding contribution to the business, both as CFO and more latterly as acting CEO, and wish him all the best for the future.”

Premier launched a strategic review into its business six months ago aimed at improving shareholder value. The new appointments come at a critical time for Premier Foods, whose large debt pile has proved a burden along with a large pension deficit.

“I am very much looking forward to joining Premier Foods at this key juncture as we look to deliver value for Premier Foods’ shareholders,” Day said.

“It is the intention to further strengthen the Board with the appointment of an additional two independent non-executive directors as soon as possible.”

Whitehouse said he plans to boost value from Premier Foods’ brand portfolio, which includes Paxo and Angel Delight.

“I’m very encouraged by the improved performance of the business over the last couple of years and see this as something we can build on further,” he added.

The maker appointments conclude a period of significant leadership uncertainty in Premier Foods.