Muller’s UK chief executive Patrick Muller has confirmed completion of Britain’s largest ever dairy industry integration, as he set out his strategy for the future of the £1.7 billion fresh milk, cream, butter and ingredients business.

The dairy firm boss also confirmed a key high-level appointment, with Brian Watson announced as Muller Milk & Ingredients’ new chief financial officer.

Watson joins the business from Marmon, a $7.7 billion Berkshire Hathaway company operating in the supermarket and foodservice sector.

Merger with Dairy Crest

The appointment comes as MMI confirms completion of its merger with Dairy Crest’s dairy operations into Muller’s existing fresh milk operation to create Muller Milk & Ingredients, which purchases 25% of Britain’s farm-gate milk.

MMI chief executive Patrick Muller said: “I am delighted to welcome Brian as we enter the next phase of our development. This is a key appointment and his experience will augment an executive team who are highly motivated to make our vision a reality.

“This business acquired Dairy Crest’s liquid milk dairies to build scale and unlock greater efficiencies and benefit for customers.

Bringing these two very large organisations together has been a huge and unprecedented task with multiple challenges; requiring the alignment of multiple systems and processes.

“I am delighted to say that our team has now delivered a single organisation and platform for the future, on the schedule which we initially set out. We now have a competitive and unique proposition having invested heavily in highly-efficient factories which optimise energy, water and wastage; and in a comprehensive logistics network.

“We have acquired our own blow moulding facilities and we are determined to lead the agenda in plastics through increased use of recycled materials, light-weighting and to drive further innovation.

“In agriculture, we are innovating strongly to ensure that dairy farmers can opt to protect themselves from the corrosive effects of extreme market volatility, and in farming’s next generation so that they are equipped and inspired to run dairy businesses which become exemplars for our industry.

‘Vision to be Britain’s dairy leader’

“We are now ready to realise our vision to be Britain’s dairy leader. That means achieving a sustainable and progressive business and leveraging the capability we now have to execute with excellence, every time. We know that great customer service is a pre-requisite.

“We will help customers with whom we have strategic partnerships to deliver distinctive and ownable propositions, including added value products in the fresh milk aisle so that they can meet the promises they make to consumers. We have the capability, flexibility and management autonomy in the UK to do this.”

Muller UK & Ireland is wholly owned by the umbrella group Theo Muller which employs 27,500 people throughout Europe.

In the UK, Muller develops, manufactures and markets a wide range of branded and private label dairy products made with milk from more than 1,700 British farmers.