NEIL DAVIDSON will be stepping down as chief executive of Arla Foods UK at the end of the company‘s financial year on Sept 30.

His departure will coincide with the completion of the integration of Express Dairies, which he headed, and Arla Foods following their merger in 2003.

Non-executive director Kim Nielsen, chairman of Arla Foods at the time of the merger, will also be leaving the company’s board in April.

However, he will remain with majority shareholder Scandinavian-owned Arla Foods amba.

The changes were made public in an AGM statement today (Jan 24) when the closure of a regional distribution centre at Stratford, east London, was also announced.

Mr Davidson said costs had increased by the equivalent of 1p/litre over the past few months and the company would be trying to recover this from the market.

Ex-farm milk prices would remain unchanged until April 1 when they would be reviewed, he added.