Simon Smith is to step down from his role as group chief executive at travel caterer SSP Group to pursue a new opportunity at a private equity-backed business.
He is expected to leave the group at the end of 2021 and, in the intervening period, will continue with his existing responsibilities.
SSP said it will commence a process to identify Smith's successor and the search process will consider both internal and external candidates. Smith was promoted from the role of chief executive of the group's UK and Ireland business in 2019, succeeding Kate Swann.
As reported in the group's interim results last month, the business has begun to see a recovery in passenger demand, led by domestic and leisure travel. Third-quarter sales were 27% of 2019 levels, and sales in the most recent week at 42% of 2019 levels, compared with 30% at the beginning of June. The outlook for the rest of the financial year remained unchanged.
Mike Clasper, chairman of the board, said: "Throughout the past 16 months, Simon and our executive team have done an excellent job in steering SSP through the enormous challenges presented by the pandemic, acting very rapidly to protect the business and its cash flow, create a more flexible operating model and strengthen the balance sheet.
"SSP has a very clear strategy and significant competitive strengths, placing it in an excellent position to take advantage of the many opportunities for growth that will be presented by the recovery in the travel sector."