Premier Foods plc has appointed the former CEO of Uniq, Geoff Eaton, as its COO and executive director.

Eaton, who will report in to CEO Michael Clarke, has been appointed to “help accelerate” the company’s transformation, it said in an announcement today (3 October).

He will focus on helping the company deliver on its divestiture and cost reduction plans, Premier said, as well as strategic initiatives to grow its Power Brands. Premier, which has been pressured by debt in recent years, is looking to turn around the business by cutting costs and focusing on eight “power brands”.

Premier said Eaton will help execute these changes.

“We’ve achieved a great deal so far in 2012 in simultaneously driving growth in our Power Brands while delivering a highly complex restructuring and divestiture programme,” said Clarke. “As we accelerate the next stage of our transformation, Geoff’s energy and experience will be critical in helping us unlock value in Bread and build further momentum in our Grocery division.”

Separately, Premier noted that its grocery and bread business will in future be managed as two separate divisions.

The focus for grocery, it said, will be on “continuing to build momentum” behind the company’s branded portfolio. In bread, a more “fundamental” approach will be taken, Premier said, “to help unlock future value and address the category challenges faced by this division”.

Premier added that it expects to deliver further overhead cost reductions in 2013 as it separates recently divested businesses. These will be “over and above” the GBP40m pounds of savings that will be delivered by the end of 2012.