Chilled food logistics specialist NFT has announced a management restructuring that will see chief operating officer Ross Eggleton become chief executive at the firm in January.

As part of the restructuring, current CEO David Frankish will become NFT vice- chairman with responsibility for strategic customer development and acquisition and merger opportunities.

He will also become a senior advisor to NFT’s private equity owner EmergeVest.

Eggleton, who joined the company from supermarket group WM Morrison earlier this year, has taken on the role of deputy chief executive with immediate effect ahead of his move to the full role from 1 January.

He is tasked with the role of strengthening and expanding the firm’s customer base in the chilled food sector and developing the firm’s services at its 230,000ft² temperature-controlled handling and distribution centre at Tilbury Port, which it opened last year.

The group, which operates from 15 sites around the UK, has a customer base which includes Sainsbury’s, Asda and Marks & Spencer. It employs around 2,500 staff and operates a fleet of 650 trucks and 800 trailers.

David Frankish joined NFT more than 30 years ago, leading an MBO of the firm that was formerly owned by Northern Foods in 2006. Under his leadership the business has grown from an annual turnover of £52m in 1995 to a current turnover of £220m.

Heath Zarin, NFT chairman and EmergeVest MD, told MT: “David has been instrumental in developing most of NFT's strategic customer relationships, as well as our acquisition of NR Evans. Going forward, he will focus his energies in these important areas."

He added: “We would like to thank David for all he has contributed to NFT's success and we are pleased to welcome him as a senior advisor to EmergeVest. We are highly confident in Ross and his ability to lead NFT through its next phase of strategic development.”

Pointing to the recent management appointments, which include transport director Nick Winder, warehouse director Tim Stone and COO of NFT subsidiary NR Evans group, Gerard Gaffney, Zarin said: “The senior management team has already been strengthened during 2017, and is unrivalled in its capabilities within the market.

“In partnership with the group’s banking partners, Investec, EmergeVest has already committed significant capital to finance NFT’s growth plans which include further acquisition opportunities and expansion of current business activities across Europe and Asia”.

Zarin added: “We have ambitious growth plans for NFT, as well as the other logistics businesses in the EmergeVest portfolio. Working through EmergeVest, NFT has already commenced business development activities in China.”

On the acquisition front Zarin said EmergeVest has “a long-term strategic vision for NFT, which incorporates acquisitions to optimise our network, expand our service offerings and enter new markets. “