Restaurant Group names former HBOS boss as new chief executive

Wagamama and Frankie & Benny’s owner The Restaurant Group has named former HBOS boss Andy Hornby as its new chief executive.

Mr Hornby will replace Andy McCue, with a start date due to be confirmed.

It comes as the group grapples with a tricky eating out market and following its £559 million takeover of noodle chain Wagamama, which formally completed in December, bringing almost 200 branches into the group’s portfolio.

Restaurant Group revealed recently that pre-tax profits more than halved to £13.9 million in 2018 compared with £28.2 million in 2017 after higher costs relating to store closures and the Wagamama deal.

Mr Hornby said: “I recognise that this sector of the market faces considerable challenges, but The Restaurant Group has a set of casual dining and pub brands that offer significant potential.”

Having previously led Coral, Mr Hornby has recently acted as co-chief operating officer at gambling giant GVC, which bought out Ladbrokes Coral in March 2018.

He was also previously group chief executive of Alliance Boots from 2009 to 2011, before which he held the same role at HBOS bank.

Debbie Hewitt, chairwoman of The Restaurant Group, said: “Andy’s extensive retail background, proven hands-on operational expertise, and experience of integrating businesses position him well to provide the leadership required to deliver the next phase of our strategy.”

The Restaurant Group has more than 650 sites across the UK, with other brands including Chiquito and Brunning & Price.

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