High street bakery Greggs has announced the departure of its chief executive Ken McMeikan.

McMeikan became well known to the public for spearheading a campaigning against the government's introduction of VAT on hot pasties - a tax not normally applied to take away food - known as 'pasty tax' after the ruling threatened to seriously affect his chain.

After sustained campaigning, the government caved in to public and political pressure, scrapping the controversial tax in one of several u-turns on its 2012 Budget.

"It has been a great honour to lead Greggs since 2008. It is a wonderful company with fantastic people and I am enormously proud of all that we have achieved together," said McMeikan in a press statement about his departure.

"There are many exciting growth opportunities ahead for the business and the team are well placed to deliver them."

Greggs chairman Derek Netherton thanked McMeikan for the "valuable contribution he has made to Greggs", adding: "He has led the company through the major changes that have put us in a strong position for the future with a clear strategy for growth in a difficult environment. We wish Ken well in his new role."

McMeikan has been tempted away by a chief executive role at the Brakes Group, a selection of specialist businesses which provide goods for the catering industry.

Shares in Newcastle-based Greggs fell 4% on Monday following the announcement, according to Reuters.