Italian-style restaurant group Carluccio's has appointed Neil Wickers as its new chief executive, making former chief executive Simon Kossoff new executive chairman.
Co-founder Stephen Gee will also step down as the company's non-executive chairman. The moves will be effective from 23 February this year.
Wickers joins the 105-site business from his role as international managing director for Pizza Express, at the Gondola Group. While there, he was responsible for achieving double-digit sales growth, and increased the number of sites internationally from 36 to 75. He also re-launched the Pizza Express grocery business.
Carluccio's has been owned by Dubai-based investment group Landmark since 2010, after being co-founded in 1999 by Italian chef Antonio Carluccio, his then-wife Priscilla Carluccio, Kossoff, and Gee. Kossoff has been chief executive since starting the business.
Commenting on the moves, Kossoff explained that the appointment of a new chief executive had long been part of the group's plans to further growth.
He said: "[Wickers] brings a wealth of international and brand development experience and as such is ideally placed to lead the team as the brand continues to expand internationally and in the UK."
Wickers himself said he was looking forward to developing the business. He said: "I am delighted to be joining the Carluccio's team. It is a brand I have long admired [and] it is an exciting time for the brand with the opening of its first site in the States and further UK openings."
It now runs to 88 restaurants in the UK, plus 17 overseas, including the first US site, which opened last year in Washington DC.