UK ingredients company Tate & Lyle has played down reports that it has begun a search for a new chief executive.

According to a report in the Sunday Telegraph, the board of directors, led by chairman David Lees, has hired recruitment firm Egon Zehnder to lead the search for a CEO to succeed Iain Ferguson.

However, when contacted by just-food today (29 April), a spokesperson said the reports were "speculation".

The move would be the latest of a number of personnel changes within the company following the departure of finance director John Nicolas last September and Lees' decision to leave the group later this year.