Longleat Safari and Adventure Park has appointed a new chief executive, just weeks after the park was criticised for putting down six lions.

Bob Montgomery started his new role as CEO last week, after being appointed by Viscount of Weymouth Ceawlin Thynn - although he has been assisting Lord Bath’s son through the transition.

Ceawlin took up the role of acting chief executive following the resignation of former CEO David Bradley in October last year, which came weeks after he was mysteriously suspended by the park.

The park has faced backlash from the public and animal rights campaigners in recent weeks, after the Mail on Sunday revealed that six lions had been euthanised in January.

However, Longleat has defended its animal welfare policy and said the decision to euthanise the six lions was the only responsible option.

A statement from Ceawlin, who will remain as executive chairman, said: “I take the issue of animal welfare very seriously. Since recently assuming executive authority and having been made aware of the issues we faced, I took swift remedial action.

“I am pleased that one of the initiatives we have put in place, to open a new lion enclosure, will be implemented soon.

“I hope that commentary will focus less on these historic issues, in some cases going back five years, and more on the initiatives we have taken to redress them and to lead the way in animal welfare.

“The appointment of Bob Montgomery as chief executive is central to this endeavour. Bob is a true professional and brings a wealth of experience, having spent his entire career in this industry.”