UK bakery firm St Pierre Groupe has appointed FMCG executive David Milner as its CEO, with a brief to accelerate international growth.

Company co-founder Jeremy Gilboy, who was CEO, now becomes chairman, the role Milner has held for the last three years.

Gilboy’s co-founder Paul Baker is international director. The duo remain majority shareholders in the branded bakery business, based in Manchester in north-west England.

Milner’s CV includes chief executive roles at UK crisps maker Tyrrells and UK pet-food group Lily’s Kitchen.

In a statement, St Pierre Groupe, which has a brand portfolio that includes St Pierre, Baker Street and Paul Hollywood, said: “As non-executive chairman at St Pierre Groupe, Milner spent the past three years in a strategic role but will now implement growth plans internationally as CEO, alongside the senior leadership team.

“The appointment is part of a long-term strategy to bolster the board of directors with unrivalled experience in UK and US markets.”

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Since 2018, St Pierre Groupe has grown its turnover by 68% and has had success in the US where St Pierre has risen to become America’s best-selling brioche brand. Its products are sold in more than 35,000 stores worldwide.

The company talks of having a retail value of US$250m and Milner’s appointment as CEO comes with a plan to double the value of the business in the next five years.

Milner said: “St Pierre Groupe is a phenomenal business, doing bakery differently with its three brands. Since joining the business in 2018, I’ve worked with the team to achieve incredible growth. Yet there is still huge potential – it is innovative, superior quality and branded. The workforce has increased threefold in 18 months and I’m excited to guide the team to even greater success.”

Co-founder Baker said: “David has been instrumental in our remarkable success in the past three years and appointing him as CEO was a natural next step to prepare us to meet ambitious growth plans.”

Milner will be charged with nurturing relationships in the US and exploring new opportunities to expand the company’s geographic footprint.

He added: “Across the globe, consumers are shifting to more premium products – Covid simply accelerated the shift, encouraging us to innovate for and elevate everyday meals with our product ranges.”

February 2021, a Just Food interview with St Pierre Groupe co-founder Paul Baker

From the archive,