HIGH WYCOMBE, ENGLAND — Vertically integrated baking and flour milling business Hovis Ltd. announced on May 18 that it has appointed Martyn Wilks as chief executive officer.
Wilks was previously executive managing director at Dairy Crest from 2007 to March this year.
“Martyn has extensive experience in a business that is very similar to our own,” said Hovis Executive Chairman Nish Kankiwala. "He has strong relationships with our key customers and his innovation experience is a perfect fit for the ambitions we have to develop our business and grow the category. He understands the challenging trading environment and has a proven track record for success in achieving growth by improving operational and organizational capabilities. He has effectively built brands and categories through innovation-driven strategies and I’m confident that he will deliver sustainable growth for Hovis.”
Prior to joining Dairy Crest, Wilks held a number of senior roles at global confectioner, Mars, during his 20-year tenure with the business. His most recent role was president of the Snackfood Division of Masterfoods USA. Other roles included global corporate VP, sales and marketing and managing director of Mars, France. He also held a number of commercial roles at United Biscuits and Cadbury Schweppes, where he began his career.
“Hovis is such an iconic brand and I’m looking forward to working in partnership with Nish, the executive team and the board to grow the brand and the category,” said Wilks. “I am joining the company at a time when Hovis has recently seen the strongest growth performance out of the three major bread brands in the U.K. and it is also currently perceived as the healthiest brand in the market. With a foundation as strong as this, along with a dynamic and energized team, I’m thrilled to be part of the next Hovis chapter.”
Wilks is also currently a non-executive director for the governing body of English Netball and will retain this role that he has held since 2012.
Hovis is jointly owned by The Gores Group (51%) and Premier Foods plc (49%). The company was created in April 2014 to help release new investment to upgrade its operational infrastructure and reinvigorate the Hovis brand. Hovis employs approximately 3,800 people at 10 bakeries, six flour mills and two regional distribution centers across the UK.