Zeev Godik is to step down from his role as chief executive officer of Gaucho Group, which operates the Gaucho and Cau restaurant brands, with immediate effect.
The announcement brings to an end Godik's run of 41 years at the helm of the business.
The company said he wanted to "consider wider interests and new opportunities" based from Dubai where he and some of his family reside.
He will remain a shareholder in Gaucho Group alongside investors Equistone Partners Europe and Luke Johnson, whose participation he helped secure in 2016. Johnson last week stepped down from his role as non-executive director of the business to concentrate on other business interests.
Chief operating officer Tracey Matthews and chief financial officer Frank Bandura will continue to work with chairman Paul Mason, the wider board and the group's investors (including Godik) to lead the business until a new CEO is appointed.
Godik commented: "I am hugely proud of this business. Since I founded Gaucho over 40 years ago, it has grown to be an internationally known and loved brand with a reputation for offering outstanding Argentinian food and excellent service across an accessible selection of price points.
"The time has come for a new chapter and I am looking forward to spending more time on my wider interests and with my family in Dubai. I'd like to thank all the people who have worked with me to grow Gaucho Group into the brand it is today. That includes of course the ongoing management team which I have brought together. It has been the biggest pleasure and privilege and I look forward to the continuing success of the group."
Paul Mason, chairman of Gaucho Group, added "Zeev has created a fantastic business with a great culture. On behalf of the whole Gaucho family, I would like to thank him for his leadership over so many years."
"Well supported by our experienced investors, and with continued guidance from Zeev as a shareholder in the business, I will work closely with the group's talented management team and board to deliver the group's ambitious growth plans. It is a truly exciting time for the business which continues to expand, investing in existing locations and opening new sites across the UK, including most imminently our new site in Edinburgh."
Dutch national Godik won the title of Group Restaurateur of the Year at the 2012 Catey Awards. He had experience of running Argentine-style steakhouses in Holland before opening the first Gaucho Grill in 1994. The company's ownership structure has changed several times, including a spell being listed on the stock market before Godik took it private again in 2002. In 2010 there was a management buy-out backed by Intermediate Capital Group, before Equistone bought a majority stake for more than £100m in 2016.
Gaucho has 17 UK restaurants following the opening of its Birmingham site earlier this year, as well as more than 20 Cau branches across the country.
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