Richard Shepherd has sold his shares in one of London's most enduring businesses, Langan's Restaurants, after nearly 36 years at the helm.
Shepherd, 67, said that it is now time for the business - comprising the flagship Langan's Brasserie , alongside Odin's and Langan's Bistro in Marylebone, and Shepherd's in Westminster - to move into a new era. He will remain as chairman of the company, but its day-to-day operation will pass to newly-appointed chief executive Brian Clivaz, who until recently was managing director at the Arts Club in London.
Previously a founder of private members club, Home House, Clivaz trained at the Dorchester hotel and has also headed up Simpsons-on-the-Strand. Meanwhile, Liam Smith-Laing, who has previous worked at La Petite Maison and Petrus in London, has been appointed executive chef.
Shepherd, who has worked in the hospitality industry for 52 years, said it had been his intention to maintain the Langan's legacy, whilst breathing new life into each restaurant, which will include an improvement to the standard of food. "At nearly 68 years of age, I'm not too sure what it is that people want today, but I have every confidence that Brian is the right man to bring new ideas and energy to the business," he told Caterer and Hotelkeeper, speaking from the south of France, where he now spends 50% of his time.
"I'm really proud that we have kept the business going for 36 years - how many restaurants are there which have lasted that length of time?"
New initiatives introduced by Clivaz include the opening of Langan's Brasserie for breakfast and all-day dining on Sundays and the launch of a late night Langan's Club in the first floor Venetian Room with snacks and drinks available until 2pm.
Odins's, Langan's Bistro and Shepherd's are currently closed, whilst undergoing a refurbishment and will open on Monday 5 November.
Shepherd, who was one of the first British chefs to achieve a Michelin star in 1974 when he was chef de cuisine at the Capital Hotel, joined Langan's Brasserie - founded by renowned hell-raiser Peter Langan and actor Michael Caine - as chef de cuisine and chef-partner in 1977. Langan died tragically in a fire in 1988 and Shepherd bought out Caine's share of the business in 1999.
Shepherd, who was awarded the CBE for services to the catering industry in 2000, has received three Cateys, including - to one of the longest standing ovations ever seen at the annual awards dinner - the Lifetime Achievement Award in 2007.
Clivaz said: "I am supremely honoured to be taking over the baton from Richard Shepherd, who has guided this world-famous group since the untimely demise of its' founder Peter Langan.
"I aim to maintain the tradition of serving a high standard of food with friendly service coupled with jovial debauchery!"
By Janet Harmer
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Published by: The Caterer