THE chief executive who has transformed the fortunes of a Blackburn cake maker has been nominated for a top gong.

Earlier this year BBF, based in Sett End Road, announced it had secured a £40million finance package to bolster the business.

This followed the acquisition of Hull's Greencore cake and desserts firm and a successful sweep of the board in the Christmas sweetmeats stakes.

Jonathan Lill, the CEO for the company, which has two sites in Blackburn and factories in Bradford and north-west Poland, has now been selected as a candidate for EY's Entrepreneur of the Year prize for the north.

Under his stewardship BBF, also known as Bright Blue Foods, has seen revenues grown from £58million to £150million.

Mr Lill said: "Over the past 18 months the new strategy for growth at BBF has really started to take hold, leading to significantly improved performance.

"During this time, we have completed the acquisition of a key division from a competitor, invested significantly in our facilities to enhance our capabilities and achieved 63 per cent sales growth in our last financial year.

"I'm really proud to have these achievements recognised by being named a finalist in the EY Entrepreneur Of The Year 2019 North awards.

"But it wouldn't have been possible without the dedicated, hard-working and amazing BBF team."

The chief executive is a qualified chartered management accountant and has worked in food manufacturing, in the UK and Europe, for nearly 30 years.

He had previously worked for 19 years at Northern Foods and also had a significant stint at supermarket chain Morrisons.

BBF, which employs 2,000 people in the UK and Europe, makes own-brand cakes for the likes of Tesco, Sainsbury's, Asda, M&S, Aldi and Lidl.