Mark Angela, the former managing director of Greene King's managed pub division, has been appointed as the new chief executive of Pizza Express.
The 330-strong chain's parent company Gondola Holdings moved to secure Angela's services after he left Greene King in April following the pub group's decision to split its managed division in two.
Harvey Smyth, chief executive of Gondola, said: "It was always our intention to recruit someone to head the Pizza Express division, as we want clear leadership at each of our core growth drivers."
Smyth will now focus on the overall development and growth of Gondola, which also owns Ask and Zizzi.
The company is majority owned by Cinven, the private equity group, which agreed a deal worth £900m in December 2005.