Arla Foods has said the strategic direction of the group’s business in Sweden remains “intact” following the appointment of a new head for the division.

Arla this morning (28 August) announced the appointment of Unilever executive Henri de Sauvage Nolting as the head of its Swedish operations. The Dutchman will join Arla no later than 1 December and will be responsible for the business groups Consumer Sweden and Consumer Finland.

He will join Arla from his position as head of Unilever Nordic and has 20 years of experience within consumer products.

A spokesperson for Arla told just-food that despite the new appointment, which sees Nolting replace the departed Christer Åberg, “the strategic direction remains intact” for Arla Sweden.

Earlier this year, Arla outlined its strategic targets to 2017. In its core markets in Northern Europe, the dairy firm said the main focus will move from “expansion to increased profitability and innovation”.

In recent years, Arla has strengthened its positions in its core markets in Sweden, as well as its other core markets of the UK, Germany, Denmark, Finland, and the Netherlands. According to Arla’s strategy, these markets “must continue to be developed”, but with more focus on “refining activities”, not primarily through expansion via mergers and acquisitions.

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“Our company has grown and Arla has a lot of unutilised potential that our owners expect us to put to good use,” Arla CEO Peder Tuborgh said in January. “We can do this by further advancing our relations with customers and consumers, offering more attractive products, and finding new ways to inspire our customers. We will continue to focus on the three global brands of Arla, Lurpak og Castello, which must all grow via their individual unique profiles. The entire company will continue to strengthen our Closer to Nature position, with the objective of being the most natural and sustainable global dairy company.

“In terms of our retail customers, we wish to be the best partner for them – through the development of both our own brands and theirs. We also want to improve the development of successful products and sharing ideas across business units and national borders,” he added.