A former chair of multinational Unilever has been appointed to head the board at a Surrey mental health foundation trust.

Surrey and Boarders Partnership Foundation Trust has announced that it has appointed Richard Greenhalgh as its chair, where he will head up the board of directors and council of governors.

Mr Greenhalgh worked for Unilever for 30 years and was its chair until his retirement in 2004.

Among other projects, he is also currently chair of Care International UK and the Council for Industry and Higher Education, and senior independent director of Rank Group PLC.

Commenting on his new post, to commence from February 2011, he said: “I am thrilled to be given this opportunity and continue to build on the good work that the trust has undertaken in recent years.”

He added: “I am confident that together with people who use the services, carers and staff we can successfully weather the challenging times ahead as the NHS enters a period of unprecedented change.“

Trust chief executive Fiona Edwards said: “We are delighted to welcome Richard, I am sure it will benefit the people we serve.”

The foundation trust serves 1.3 million people in the area suffering from mental health issues and substance misuse, and employs 3,000 staff.