JOHN Menzies has recruited a veteran of the aviation services industry to support its push for growth in the sector, which the group has focused on after offloading its newspaper distribution business last year.

Edinburgh-based Menzies said Mervyn Walker has joined its senior management team after gaining 30 years’ experience in the ground handling industry. These include 14 years at John Menzies, which Mr Walker left four years ago to work on other projects in the sector.

Menzies said Mr Walker is expected to help the group maximise the bottom line impact of the significant investment in systems and processes which the company has made in recent years.

The company said it has exciting plans to achieve organic growth which it expects to supplement with synergistic acquisitions.

Interim chief executive Giles Wilson said Mr Walker’s in depth knowledge of the business combined with his operational expertise and focus on efficiency would help Menzies to deliver on its short and medium term objectives.

Last month Menzies said former chief executive Forsyth Black had left with immediate effect after 19 years with the firm to “pursue the next stage of his career”.

It praised the contribution he had made to the company. This included the revival and subsequent disposal of its newspaper and magazine distribution for £74.5 million to the Endless private equity firm.