Wagamama appoints Allan Leighton as chairman
Asian restaurant chain Wagamama has appointed former Asda chief executive Allan Leighton as non-executive chairman.
Leighton succeeds David Williams who stepped down as non-executive chairman at the end of 2014 following increased commitments as chairman of The PGA European Tour.
Wagamama has 114 wholly owned restaurants in the UK including a recently opened showcase restaurant in London’s Soho. It is currently opening new restaurants every two to three weeks in the UK, and operates 35 international restaurants, of which 31 are franchised.
David Campbell, chief executive of Wagamama, said: “The last year has been a record one for Wagamama, thanks to our highly talented teams in the restaurants and at noodle HQ, and now with Allan on board we look forward to achieving even greater growth both in the UK and importantly internationally. I am very excited by Allan’s arrival. The years ahead will be very good ones for Wagamama.”
Peter Taylor, managing partner of Duke Street, principal investors in Wagamama alongside Hutton Collins, added: “We are delighted to welcome Allan to the company. His breadth of experience as a chairman, particularly in multi-unit retail businesses, is hard to match and we are thrilled he agreed to join us.”
Following Asda’s sale to Wal-Mart, Leighton became president and chief executive of Wal-Mart Europe and then took on a plural career which included directorships at companies such as Dyson, Cannons Group, BHS, BSkyB Group and Selfridges, as well as president of Loblaw Companies and chief executive of Pandora. He has also been chairman of lastminute.com and Royal Mail and is currently chairman of Pace, Entertainment One, Office, Matalan and is the recently appointed chairman of The Co-operative Group.
Leighton said: “Wagamama is in great shape. I have had a chance to meet a large number of the team – at HQ and also in restaurants - and I am impressed by what has already been achieved, but more importantly what is planned over the next few years. We have a lot of ambition and I look forward to adding my experience and perspective to help realise that ambition.”
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