Hovis has appointed its first innovation director to lead the brand’s NPD programme. Sharon Barraclough has joined the company from Telefonica UK, where she held the position of head of brand and marketing strategy and was responsible for developing a new brand strategy for O2 in the UK. She also has experience of the food industry as a former European brand director for Western Europe at Mars Chocolate and head of marketing at Manor Bakeries, where she also focused on growth and NPD.Barraclough will now be tasked with helping Hovis to drive category growth with new products.Nish Kankiwala, executive chairman, said: “Sharon joins us at an incredibly exciting time and we feel privileged to have her on board our journey. Innovation is absolutely critical to Hovis and forms an integral part to our growth strategy. Sharon’s wealth of experiences in delivering ambitious and innovative business and marketing strategies will assist Hovis in continuing to lead the bread market with category-first initiatives.“Sharon is an ambitious and entrepreneurial marketer with a passion for innovation and we’re excited to have her on board during this exciting new chapter for the business.”Tim Stoller began as Hovis’ first convenience director in April, while the company continues its search for a chief executive to replace Bob Spooner, who resigned his post last October to take up an opportunity abroad, and also for a chief financial officer following Michael Kennedy’s departure in January this year.