French fresh dairy products producer Yoplait has appointed Lucien Fa as its new managing director.

Fa, who had been with Danone in 1981, has spent the past six years as head of the food giant's HP Foods and Lea and Perrins brands.

He will replace Didier Lefèvre who has been at Yoplait's helm since 2000 .

Staff unions have voiced fears that the appointment of Fa is the prelude to a restructuring programme.

Yoplait employs 3,000 staff in Europe, of which 2,200 are based at four plants in France.

It posted a turnover last year of €1.05bn (US$1.03bn).

Yoplait is jointly owned by French cooperative group Sodiaal and investment fund, PAI Management which took a 50% shareholding in the company earlier this year.

By Stuart Todd, correspondent