Palmer and Harvey has appointed Martyn Ward, former consumer healthcare company SSL International regional managing director for Northern Europe, as sales and commercial director.

Starting this month and replacing Peter Austen, who announced his retirement last month, Ward will be responsible for sales following former sales director Paul Hagon’s move to the newly created role of group strategy and development director.

While at SSL, Ward grew the business by driving profitability, changing the company culture, re-focusing strategy and developing a culture of innovation.

Prior to SSL, he worked at Alliance Unichem, where he was commercial director responsible for sales, marketing and buying for the UK business. Ward’s career also includes time at Courage Beer Company, Spillers Foods, and Kellogg’s.

Ward said: “I’m looking forward to working for such a well regarded business and really want to communicate the quality of the Palmer and Harvey offer. It’s a pivotal time for the commercial team as we look to increase sales, and part of my remit will be to focus our teams on enthusing our customers and suppliers, to further strengthen these valuable relationships.”

Chris Etherington, chief executive of Palmer and Harvey, added: “Martyn has fantastic wholesale experience with a background across all our major sales channels. His addition to the team gives us an ideal platform to drive our offer and bring an even greater focus to our business going forward.”