US dairy giant Dean Foods has appointed a former Unilever executive to the newly-created position of chief operating officer, ice cream.

The company, the third-largest ice cream producer in the US, said today (23 April) that Rachel Cullen has taken up the role. Cullen will head a division selling brands including Kodiak Island Fudge and Strawberry Smash.

"We are confident that her broad capabilities will help drive our ice cream business, a segment we believe has excellent growth potential for Dean Foods," said Alan Bernon, president of Dean Dairy Group.

Dean Foods, based in Dallas, is the largest dairy producer in the US. Its brand stable includes Silk soymilk and Horizon Organic milk.

The company also owns Rachel's Organic, a UK producer of organic dairy products.