Simon Blagden, the chief executive of Jamie Oliver Restaurant Group, has stepped down from the business following the consolidation of the company’s media and restaurant operations.
He has been replaced by Jon Knight, managing director of the company’s international operations, according to The Times.
Blagden had headed the celebrity chef’s restaurant business since its launch in 2008. He was previously operations director at PizzaExpress.
Earlier this year the closure of six Jamie’s Italian restaurants in Aberdeen, Cheltenham, Exeter, Ludgate, Richmond and Tunbridge Wells was announced.
At the time Blagden blamed the pressures of “a tough market”, made harder by the “unknowns” post-Brexit.
The news of Blagden’s departure followed the posting of the annual results for the year to 31 December 2016 of Jamie Oliver Holdings, the company that looks after the media interests of the chef.
Turnover fell from £31.9m to £30m, which was explained by pursing “a strategy of focusing resources on core activities”, such as television production relating to Jamie Oliver himself, rather than “a broader based stable of content”.
Pre-tax profit for the company jumped from £1.1m to £5.3m.
The annual results for Jamie Oliver’s Italian are due to be lodged at Companies House shortly.