Darby – currently chairman of food distribution charity The Felix Project – headed Premier Foods for six years until 2019 and helped lead a turnaround for the business.
He has also held a number of senior positions in some the world’s largest businesses, including 15 years at the Coca-Cola Company and ten years at telecommunications giant Vodafone. From 2017 to 2019, Darby also served as president for the Food and Drink Federation.
Developing on-the-go range
Commenting on his appointment, Darby said: “As we look beyond COVID-19 and Brexit, I see exciting opportunities for the business, particularly in developing and expanding Orchard House's on-the-go fruit and beverage range.
“We will continuously strive to offer our customers the best service and quality with investment in people, technology, and processes. I look forward to working closely with Elaghmore and the Orchard House team.”
Darby joins the business following its acquisition by UK-based private equity fund Elaghmore in January this year.
Significant step for Orchard
Elaghmore co-founder Andy Ducker added: “We see the appointment of Gavin as a significant step in our growth plans for Orchard House. He has a wealth of industry knowledge and experience that makes him the ideal person to lead the business forward and extend Orchard House’s position as a market leader.”
Orchard House and its associated brands supply retailers, on-the-go food outlets, foodservice providers and manufacturers throughout the UK, with clients including Marks & Spencer, Morrisons, Pret A Manger, Sainsbury’s and Tesco.
The Corby, Northamptonshire-based business employs around 1,000 people and utilises a global supply chain, sourcing and preparing a range of exotic fresh fruits from across the world.
Meanwhile, Mars Wrigley UK, which produces brands including M&M's, Milky Way and Skittles, has announced Adam Grant’s appointment as general manager.