Carr's Milling Industries eschewed best corporate governance practice by elevating its chief executive to chairman amid a boardroom shake-up which has seen the poaching of Tim Davies from farm co-operative Openfield.
The flour-to-nutrients group, which in July revealed the departure next year of finance director Ron Wood, said on Tuesday that its chairman, Lord Inglewood, is to step down too, after seven years in the post.
Rather than seeking an external candidate for chairman, or promoting a non-executive director, as considered best practice in UK corporate governance, Carr's is to replace Lord Inglewood with Chris Holmes, the group's chief executive
Mr Holmes will in turn be succeeded by Mr Davie, managing director at Openfield, the UK's top farmer-owned grain co-operative, since its creation in 2008 from the merger of Centaur Grain and Grainfarmers.
'Not best practice'
Carr's said that its board "recognises that the appointment of Chris Holmes as chairman does not accord with the recommendations of the UK Corporate Governance Code.
"However, the board believes that, in view of Chris Holmes' wealth of experience… the appointment is in the best interests of Carr's and its shareholders."
Lord Inglewood said that Mr Holmes "has been intrinsic in the development and success of Carr's and the board believes that this expertise should be retained to assist the further development of Carr's under its new chief executive".
Promoting chief executive to chairman of the same group, while reasonably common practice, and undertaken for example by transport group Stagecoach earlier this year, can risk a ticking off from shareholders.
Carr's said that it had "consulted major shareholders who have expressed their strong support for" Mr Holmes' move to chairman.
Openfield, which markets some 4.6m tonnes of grain a year, said has annual turnover of about £700m, said it had already begun a recruitment process to find a replacement for Mr Davies, who takes office at Carr's on March 1.
He will be succeeded as acting chief executive at Openfield by John Stables, the co-operative's finance director.
Richard Beldam, the Openfield chairman, said that he was "delighted" for Mr Davies over the appointment to an "exciting and challenging position".