In a shock move Andrew Knight, managing director of Spirit
Knight, who oversaw the integration of Spirit into Punch and trimmed the operation from more than 1,800 pubs to its current level of 863, will be replaced by Michael Tye.
Tye becomes manager of Spirit and an executive director on the pub company's board.
Tye is a 20 year hospitality industry veteran, having worked at Forte, Aramark and Whitbread, where he was until recently managing director of David Lloyd Leisure.
He also worked as marketing director at Whitbread restaurants, managing director of Costa and managing director of Premier Travel Inn (now Premier Inn) overseeing the acquisition and integration of Premier Lodge.
Giles Thorley, chief executive of Punch Taverns, thanked Knight for leading the group through a "significant period of integration over the last couple of years".
"I would also like to welcome Mike to the Group. Mike has a long and diverse career in the leisure retail sector and brings with him exceptional experience which will be invaluable to the group in taking Spirit to the next stage of its development," Thorley added.
In an exclusive interview with Caterer last month Knight outlined his plans for the group to achieve its "huge potential", including a revamp of Chef & Brewer, an extended roll-out of pubs with rooms chain Good Night Inns and new restaurant chain Grill House Kitchen.
By Christopher Walton
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