Michel Leonard, former chairman of French dairy products group Bongrain, has joined French rival Lactalis.

Leonard, who will replace Marcel Urion, is to be Lactalis’ chairman for a period of one year, reported the French News Digest.

Alex Bongrain is to take Leonard’s place as chairman of Bongrain for the remainder of the mandate, which is set to expire in September 2003.

Meanwhile, at the end of March, Lactalis is to open a cheese plant in the Moscow region of Russia. Lactalis is estimated to have spent US$13m on the plant, which will have an annual production capacity of 6,000 tonnes of cheese, reported Interfax.