Dairy Crest said this morning (11 December) that Martin Oakes, executive managing director of its dairies division, has resigned.

The UK's largest dairy group said Oakes would step down from its board with immediate effect and leave the company at the end of January.

Oakes will not be replaced and Dairy Crest chief executive Mark Allen will take direct control of the company's dairies division.

Allen was executive managing director of the dairies unit before he was appointed as chief executive in January 2007.

Dairy Crest chairman Simon Oliver said: "The board would like to thank Martin for his contribution to Dairy Crest and wish him well for the future."

He added: "We have a strong team in place in our dairies division who will now report directly to Mark Allen. This revised structure will enable us to address the current market challenges and capitalise on the opportunities that we have as the UK's leading dairy company."