Antalis, which acquired Ambassador in January 2012, said Smith would build on Antalis’ distribution and service provision skills and combine this with Ambassador’s systems and packaging expertise.

Smith said: “I’m looking forward to the challenge of further strengthening Ambassador’s market position as a leading provider of packaging materials and packaging solutions.

Following last year’s takeover the Cheshire-based packaging business was renamed from Ambassador Packaging to Ambassador Antalis. The addition of its £28m annual sales more than doubled Antalis’ packaging turnover.

“We are looking to consolidate and take the combined business forward organically, but have no further acquisition plans in the immediate future. We are looking to grow combined sales by 25% over two years.

“I want to grow the business using Antalis’ infrastructure of bases around the country. Our biggest rival is Macfarlane Group but there are other businesses out there too and we want to be seen as best in class.”

He said there were big opportunities to benefit from the burgeoning use of packaging by internet companies, while openings could also lie in traditional UK companies starting to enjoy economic recovery.

Smith has worked at Antalis for 35 years and is a former regional sales director for the print division in the Midlands and the north. He switched to the packaging division in 2001.