Wholesaler Palmer and Harvey has appointed Martyn Ward as sales and commercial director following the retirement of Peter Austen last month.

Ward will also take over from former sales director Paul Hagon, who has been appointed as the newly created group strategy and development director. Ward joins Palmer and Harvey from consumer healthcare company SSL International, where he was regional managing director for Northern Europe.

He said: "I'm looking forward to working for such a well-regarded business and really want to communicate the quality of the Palmer and Harvey offer. It's a pivotal time for the commercial team as we look to increase sales, and part of my remit will be to focus our teams on enthusing our customers and suppliers, to further strengthen these valuable relationships."

Palmer and Harvey chief executive Chris Etherington added: "Martyn has fantastic wholesale experience with a background across all our major sales channels. His addition to the team gives us an ideal platform to drive our offer and bring an even greater focus to our business going forward."