The Lake District Creamery has appointed Tony McLoughlin interim general manager as Sean Bell, the creamery's general manager for the last 16 years, heads overseas to start a new life in South Africa.
For the past six months, Tony has been interim general manager at The First Milk Cheese Company's cheese packing facility in North Wales where he led a number of major improvement initiatives and developed a good working knowledge of The First Milk Cheese Company business.
Tony has also previously worked with Northern Foods as Category Supply Chain Director for Fox's Biscuits and prior to that, he held operational positions with Cadbury Trebor Bassett and Proctor & Gamble.
He said: "This is an exciting time to be taking over at The Lake District Creamery with the recent hugely successful launch of our own Lake District Cheese Company. The brand has been so warmly received by everyone in the county and I am looking forward to building on the excellent work which Sean and his team have achieved."
Meanwhile, Sean Bell is moving to South Africa to become Chief Operations Officer for Butler's Farmhouse Cheese, which sells a range of cheddar and other semi-hard cheeses throughout the country.
Explained Sean: "This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity but it was a really tough decision to leave The Lake District Creamery and the fantastic team here as there has been so much progress made by First Milk and The First Milk Cheese Company in a short space of time.
"I know I am leaving the business in a really great shape and I wish everyone continued success for the future. I will still be in contact with friends and family in the county so I will watch the growth of The Lake District Cheese Company brand from a distance and with huge pride."
Jeff Halliwell, managing director of First Milk's cheese business, welcomed Tony to Cumbria and paid tribute to Sean and his contribution to the success of the creamery.
"I am delighted that Tony is bringing his experience to our Lake District Creamery operation and given his knowledge of our business, he will make an impact straight from the off. I'd like to thank Sean for his devoted 16 years' service at Aspatria as he has played a significant part in its success during that time. We wish him all the best as he takes up this fabulous opportunity in the sunshine."
The recruitment process for a permanent general manager is already underway and a number of high calibre candidates have already been interviewed. As well as operational responsibilities at the creamery, a key part of the role will be to engage with stakeholders across Cumbria, as well as representing The Lake District Creamery outside the county.
For further information, please contact:
Jill Coyle, Communications Manager, 07825 625205
Notes to editors
First Milk is the largest dairy farmer co-operative in the UK with 2600 members. Its members' farms stretch from Central Scotland to the South of England, and from West Wales to East Anglia. The business has three divisions: Milk operations, Cheese and Ingredients.
Milk Operations handles approximately 1.8 billion litres of milk per annum from around 2600 producers. This milk is supplied to First Milk's cheese business and to many of the leading names in the industry. The First Milk Cheese Company is the largest UK-based cheese supplier. First Milk's Ingredients business supplies a range of customers with milk powder and whey products for functional foods, protein drinks, pro-biotics, pre-biotics, pharmaceutical, bakery and confectionary products.