Bar operator Novus Leisure, the firm behind the Tiger Tiger brand, has appointed John Kelly as non-executive chairman.
Kelly, 64, has worked in hospitality for four decades and created the Gala Coral gaming group following a £280m buy-in of the Gala Bingo business from Bass in 1997. He is currently chairman of online train ticket retailer Trainline.com and a senior non-executive director of Ladbrokes.
Kelly replaces John Barnes, who has served as a non-executive director for Novus since its formation five years ago. He was appointed chairman in 2008, and since then the group's turnover has risen from £81m to the £136m forecast for this financial year.
Novus has a total of 53 bars, including 17 city sites it bought from Balls Brothers and Lewis and Clark in March.
The company has spent around £2m in updating the Balls Brothers sites and has attempted to broaden its appeal to make it more relevant to a wider customer base of City professionals.
It said it had maintained high double-digit like-for-like sales growth. The newly-acquired Balls Brothers estate has seen like-for-likes up in excess of 30%, driven by Novus's advanced bookings systems.
Revenue from advanced bookings now represents around 50% of revenue during periods outside the Christmas trading period, when this rises to around 75%. Novus has also invested an additional £1m in upgrading of its Latenightlondon website (www.latenightlondon.co.uk).
Steve Richards, chief executive of Novus, said: "I am delighted to welcome John Kelly to the Board. He joins the business with the support both of our outgoing chairman and the executive team. He is well respected, well connected and as such, eminently qualified to assist us in taking the business to the next of phase of its development."
By Neil Gerrard
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