Stobart Group has appointed David Shearer as its chairman.

He will take over on June 1, when current chairman Iain Ferguson steps down after the firm's AGM.

He said there was a need to unify the firm's shareholders behind its strategy.

Mr Shearer is currently non-executive chairman at equipment rental group Speedy Hire, Aberdeen New Dawn Investment Trust plc and the Scottish Edge Fund.

He is credited with successfully restructuring businesses including Deloitte LLP, Mouchel Group plc and City Inn Limited.

Mr Shearer said: "I am delighted to be joining the board of Stobart Group as it executes its strategy. Two things are clear to me.

"Firstly, that Stobart Group is successfully growing two excellent businesses: aviation and energy.

"Secondly, that there is a need to unify the shareholders behind the strategy. I look forward to working with Warwick Brady and the board in growing long-term value for all shareholders."

Mr Ferguson said: "I am pleased to be handing over as chairman to David after the next AGM.

"He has considerable experience which will help chief executive Warwick Brady and the team to implement the group's strategy and deliver our ambitious growth targets.

"Stobart Group is a much-changed business since I joined six years ago, and one that is now very focused and well-positioned to deliver value to shareholders.

"Over the last year, we have strengthened the board, adding more expertise, and ensuring shareholders continue to have a strong independent voice. I wish David, Warwick and all their colleagues every success in the future."

The tussle over who should head the boardroom table was at the centre of a very bitter public battle between Stobart Group chiefs and Cumbrian businessman Andrew Tinkler, who is widely credited as the brains behind the company’s success.

Mr Tinkler, backed by two other major shareholders, demanded that Mr Ferguson step down, citing serious differences over the future strategy of the group.

They also called for Cumbrian tycoon and Edinburgh Woollen Mill Group owner Philip Day – recently named eighth richest person in the North West in The Sunday Times Rich List, with a fortune of £1.2 billion – to replace him.

The Stobart Group board responded by firing Mr Tinkler as an executive director, accusing him of destabilising the company along with other accusations over conduct and expenses.

The resulting High Court hearing found that Mr Tinkler was lawfully removed.

Mr Ferguson announced his intention to step down as chairman in July last year, after being narrowly re-elected to the position, and at the height of the boardroom battle.

His decision, part of a wider shake-up of the board, was part of a plan to reunite stakeholders and avoid further unnecessary and disruptive public argument, Mr Ferguson said at the time.

Earlier this month, the company raised just over £53 million to fuel the growth in its aviation and energy businesses.

The company is part of the Connect Airways consortium which recently took over struggling airline Flybe, while locally flight are due to take off from the Stobart Group operated Carlisle Lake District Airport on July 4.

In the North East, the group was unveiled as the new operator for Durham Tees Valley Airport after entering into a joint venture with its new owners Tees Valley Combined Authority.