Serial entrepreneur Luke Johnson is stepping down from his role as non-executive chairman of Argentine steak restaurant group the Gaucho Group.
After joining last year, Johnson is stepping down to concentrate on his other business investments. He is chairman and part-owner of a plethora of companies including Patisserie Holdings, Bread (the firm behind Gail’s Bakery), 3Sixty Restaurants, contract catering firm the Genuine Dining Co, and pub group the Draft House. He will remain an investor in Gaucho Group.
Johnson said: “I wish Gaucho every success and will continue to offer them business advice and support.”
Zeev Godik, chief executive and founder of Gaucho Group, which operates the Gaucho and Cau brands, and was winner of the Restaurateur of the Year – Group Catey in 2012, said: “I’d like to thank Luke for his contribution to the group as chairman. We’re grateful that we will be able to continue drawing on his expertise of expansion programmes in the hospitality sector.”
Johnson is being replaced by Paul Mason, who has been chief executive of Asda, Somerfield and Matalan; chairman of Dr. Martens, Cath Kidston and the Mayborn Group; and non-executive chairman of New Look and president of Levi Strauss.
Godik added: “We’re delighted to welcome Paul to the team. Paul brings extensive, hands-on experience in the consumer and retail landscape which will be invaluable in supporting our ambitious plans for the continued growth of the group.”
Mason said: “The opportunity to play a role in the further development of the group is an exciting one.”
Following the opening of a new site in Birmingham in May, the first UK opening for Gaucho in seven years, the group will increase its portfolio of Gaucho restaurants to 16 following the opening of a new restaurant in Edinburgh this month. It has also refurbished multiple venues across both the premium Gaucho offering and the mid-market Cau brand, which has 22 sites across the UK.
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