Premier's new boss swings axe immediately

Gavin Darby, the incoming chief executive of Premier Foods, lost no time in stamping his mark on the Hovis-maker, sacking his chief operating officer on his first day in the top job.

Mr Darby, the former boss of Cable & Wireless Worldwide, announced Geoff Eaton would be leaving the company with immediate effect, despite the fact that he only joined the beleaguered food company in October.

Mr Eaton, the former boss of food maker Uniq, will not be replaced, with Mr Darby expected to assume a large portion of his duties.

A company spokesman said his departure would give "a flatter executive management structure…that will enable commercial and functional management to report directly to the CEO".

Mr Darby said: "I would like to thank Geoff for his contribution to the company and wish him well in his future career. I very much look forward to working with the management team to continue the transformation of Premier Foods."

Mr Darby replaced Michael Clarke, who left after just 18 months in charge.

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