Confusion surrounds the future of Gordon Ramsay Holdings](http://www.gordonramsay.com) (GRH) following last week's departure of its chief executive officer, Chris Hutcheson.
Ramsay's father-in-law, who has masterminded the rapid growth of the celebrity chef's restaurant empire over the past 12 years, left GRH suddenly to be replaced by an "interim management team".
While it is unclear what caused the rupture, speculation is rife over a fall out between Ramsay and Hutcheson. According to some reports, the split came as the result of a £1.5m personal loan from GRH to Hutcheson when the group was in financial difficulty. It has also been claimed that Ramsay was forced to hire security guards to prevent Hutcheson from entering the company's head office.
Industry observers suggest that Ramsay is now likely to sell his remaining restaurants and relocate to the USA. In the meantime he has been linked with entrepreneur and Dragon's Den star Peter Jones. GRH said no decisions had been made but denied that Jones had been taken on as a consultant.
Though the cause of the split isn't yet clear, its implications for GRH are undoubtedly severe. "Senior management movement is always disruptive to a business, particularly an entrepreneurial one and one involving families," said Robin Hutson, chairman and chief executive of Lime Wood Group.
"Clearly Gordon and Chris have worked extremely hard over the past decade to create the GRH empire, although if taken at face value and the published annual losses of £8m after 10 years of trading are to be believed, then clearly something was wrong."
This was echoed by David Moore, owner of London restaurants [Pied à Terre](http://www.pied-a-terre.co.uk/) and [L'Autre Pied](http://www.lautrepied.co.uk). "Chris may have been the one who pushed the business too hard too quickly," he said.
"But Gordon has an excellent eye for talent and will no doubt have new advisers waiting in the wings to take the business to the next level."
Hutson added that Hutcheson's departure presents a great opportunity for Ramsay to reinvent the management structure around him.
He said: "While Chris will be difficult to replace, it feels to me that after such a disruptive episode, a period of consolidation without so many moving parts to the business may well reap rewards."
THE GORDON RAMSAY HOLDINGS EMPIRE
GRH-owned UK restaurantsFoxtrot Oscar
Restaurant Gordon Ramsay
York & Albany
Restaurant at One New Change (to open in April 2011)
GRH UK restaurant contracts Claridge's
[Ramsay split leads to a lot of questions >>](http://www.caterersearch.com/Articles/2010/10/21/335595/ramsay-split-leads-to-a-lot-of-questions.htm)
[Chris Hutcheson resigns from Gordon Ramsay Holdings >>](http://www.caterersearch.com/Articles/2010/10/19/335549/Chris-Hutcheson-resigns-from-Gordon-Ramsay-Holdings.htm)
[Angela Hartnett buys Murano from Gordon Ramsay Holdings >>](http://www.caterersearch.com/Articles/2010/10/13/335467/Angela-Hartnett-buys-Murano-from-Gordon-Ramsay-Holdings.htm)
<span class=""noindex"">By Kerstin Kühn
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