Greencore chief executive David Dilger has decided to leave the company, the convenience food group said today (11 December).

The desserts-to-sandwiches company expressed its "regret" at Dilger's departure, which is slated for the end of next March.

Greencore chairman Ned Sullivan said: "I would like to pay tribute to the leadership and achievement of David Dilger in his role as our chief executive since he assumed the position in 1995.  Supported by the executive team that he has built, David has successfully transformed Greencore into one of Europe's leading convenience foods producers."

Dilger said it was the "ideal time" to leave Greencore. "Greencore has never been in better shape," he added.

CFO Patrick Coveney is set to replace Dilger as chief executive.

Two weeks ago, Greencore booked a 22% jump in underlying operating profit to EUR91m (US$133.5m) for the year to 28 September, thanks to "strong" profit growth from its ingredients business.