Chris Hutcheson, chief executive officer of Gordon Ramsay Holdings (GRH), has resigned from the company after more than a decade at its helm.
The celebrity chef's father-in-law, who has masterminded the rapid growth of the company has left and an interim management team has been put in place while a replacement is being sought.
Over the past 12 years, Hutcheson, known as a ruthless businessman, has been responsible for the company's expansion both in the UK and internationally.
In a statement GRH said that following his departure, Hutcheson retains an interest in GRH as a shareholder: "We would like to thank him for all his efforts and support in helping to build and grow GRH over last 12 years," the company said.
"Interim management will be put in place while the search begins for a full time replacement. It continues to be business as normal for all GRH operations."
Hutcheson set up GRH with his son-in-law in 1998 and together the duo, who are known to be extremely close both in business and in personal life, opened Restaurant Gordon Ramsay in Royal Hospital Road, which was followed by Pétrus in 1999.
Shortly afterwards, a partnership with investment firm Blackstone, brokered by Hutcheson, rose the company to new heights including the opening of restaurants in top London hotels such as Claridge's, the Connaught, the Savoy and the Berkeley and Marriott Grosvenor Square. International expansion across four continents including Asia, the Middle East, Australia and the USA followed.
However, rapid over-expansion left GRH struggling to pay back a £10m loan from the Royal Bank of Scotland and a tax bill of £7.2m. Auditors at KPMG proposed bankruptcy, but Ramsay and Hutcheson restructured the debts, and in its overseas restaurants GRH became consultants rather than owners. Figures released in August showed that GRH's newer restaurants had combined losses of £8m for the year ending August 2009.
Prior to GRH, Hutcheson ran a successful printing business, which he passed to his son Adam, before setting up GRH.
By Kerstin Kühn
E-mail your comments to Kerstin Kühn here.
If you have something to say on this story or anything else join the debate at Table Talk - Caterer's new networking forum. Go to www.caterersearch.com/tabletalk
Looking for a new job? Find your next restaurant job here with Caterersearch.com jobs