Wagamama-owner puts City stalwart Hanna on chairman’s menu
Written by Hit Music Radio News on 27/10/2021
A City stalwart who has presided over a string of recent takeover deals will this week be named as the next chairman of Restaurant Group, the London-listed owner of Wagamama.
Sky News has learnt that Ken Hanna, a former finance chief at Cadbury, has been identified as the successor to Debbie Hewitt, who will step down at the end of the year to chair the Football Association (FA).
Sources said that a stock market announcement was expected to be made by Restaurant Group on Thursday morning.
Mr Hanna’s appointment will bring one of the most experienced figures in British boardrooms to the helm of a company that has faced severe financial challenges during the pandemic.
Restaurant Group has twice raised money from shareholders to steer it through lengthy periods of closure for its brands, which also include Chiquito, Garfunkel’s and Frankie & Benny’s.
Like its peers, the company was boosted by a Budget announcement from the chancellor, Rishi Sunak, on Wednesday which will give the hospitality sector in England a 50% discount on annual business rates bills.
Restaurant Group is run by Andy Hornby, the former Boots and Gala Coral chief who was in charge of HBOS when it was forced into the arms of Lloyds TSB during the 2008 banking crisis.
His new chairman, Mr Hanna, has been involved in a flurry of corporate deals in recent months, having overseen the sale of Aggreko to TDR Capital and Isquared Capital, and the disposal of RMD Kwikform to Altrad, the French industrial group.
He also chairs Arena Events Group, which agreed a takeover by a Gulf consortium earlier this month.
A spokesman for Restaurant Group declined to comment.
© Sky News 2020