Petre, who has almost 20 years’ experience in the food industry, will head up quality and compliance, as well as research and development for the company. He will oversee a team of 60 and report to group operations director Patrick Rigby.

He joins from kitchens and joinery products supplier Howdens Joinery Co, where he was design, innovation and sourcing director.

Petre said: “Weetabix has a proven track record for creating innovative, well-loved products, so I’m thrilled to be joining a company with such a strong reputation. In fact, my family are delighted too – especially my kids, who absolutely love Weetabix Crispy Minis.

“I’m ready to hit the ground running – helping Weetabix not only maintain its output of brilliant products, but also its commitment to superior quality.”

Rigby added: “Having worked at the cutting edge of marketing, technical and R&D for two decades, John has amassed a genuinely unique set of skills. Plus, with a strong background in engineering too, John’s broad-ranging insights will be invaluable as Weetabix continues to evolve and grow. I have no doubt he’ll be an excellent addition to the team.”

Petre succeeds John Pickles, head of R&D and Keith Turnbull, head of quality and compliance – both now retired.