SimplyFresh has announced the appointment of Steve Drake as its new commercial director and member of the board of directors.

CEO Tim Chalk said: “Steve has been working alongside SimplyFresh and SimplyLocal as a consultant for several months now; I am delighted he has accepted our invitation to come on board as our Commercial Director. Steve has been pivotal in trialling and developing our new business model with Sainsbury’s and as we bring our offer to market he is best placed to deliver this most compelling strategic partnership to our retailers. Steve brings a diverse retail background and an infectious professionalism to SimplyFresh and SimplyLocal and I know the team is energised by his appointment.”

Drake previously held the position of head of european convenience retail for Shell Retail and in 2011, he was appointed regional operations director for Co-Op Food where he was responsible for 600 multi-format food stores in the South West and Wales.

He joined BP in 2016 to lead their convenience retail Partnerships programme with Grocery Retailers in Europe. He co-designed the new global Partnership strategy and commercial framework, whilst closely supporting local Country teams to deliver the implementation across 10 markets.

On his new role, Drake said: “Having been deeply involved in building the new SimplyFresh with Sainsbury’s proposition over the past months, I was delighted to be offered the opportunity to continue my work as Commercial Director. I am absolutely convinced that SimplyFresh and Sainsbury’s are developing a sector-leading proposition together for progressive and ambitious independent retailers that will elevate the sheer quality and variety of fresh products available to their customers, improve operational efficiencies in their businesses and accelerate profitable sales growth.”

Steve’s appointment following the recent appointment of Michael O’Loughlin as chief operating officer and former COO Kash Khera assuming a new role as business development director.