In order to support the strategic growth plans for the company, Malcolm Ritchie, the new Chairman and Chief Executive of United Biscuits, has announced that the company will move from the current geographic focus to a dedicated category focus from January 2001.

The new structure will consist of two core categories:

Biscuits          UK and UB's international businesses (including brands like BN, Delacre, Verkade and Oreo) coming together under single management control

Snacks           Crisps, Snacks and Nuts

Key appointments

Graham Johns is appointed Group Managing Director, Biscuits Category. Graham brings a wealth of international commercial marketing and general management experience to the business, having spent the last 13 years with Heinz, where he is currently Managing Director, European Infant Feeding. Prior to this, Graham was with Courage Brewing for eight years.

In addition to his broader category responsibilities, Graham will also undertake the role of Managing Director, UK Biscuits.

Will Carter is appointed Managing Director, Snacks Category. Will has been with United Biscuits for 21 years. Will is currently Managing Director of KP Snacks and has an excellent record in marketing and general management.

As a consequence of these appointments, Robert Schofield, Managing Director of UB UK, (McVitie's and KP), will leave the business at the end of the year.

Malcolm Ritchie, Chairman and Chief Executive of United Biscuits, comments: "Robert has made an outstanding contribution to our UK business which will provide a strong foundation to our new category structure".

With the individual categories now taking responsibility for their own growth plans, there is no longer a need for a central marketing capability. Ed Jackson, currently Managing Director, Development Operations, will also be leaving the business.

United Biscuits is confident that this new organisational structure will help to deliver both its highly competitive commercial programme and to reinforce its position as a leading European snacks player. Continuing to work in close partnership with key trade customers will be paramount to achieving these objectives.