Andrew Walker, the former managing director of Pret A Manger UK, has been appointed the new chief executive of EAT, the Lyceum Capital-backed chain, MCA has learnt.

Walker, who spent 12 years at Pret, including four and a half as its UK managing director, stepped down as managing director of business development at the Casual Dining Group (CDG) earlier this year.

He replaces Adrian Johson, who left the c110-strong EAT earlier this year, and will oversee the roll out of the group’s new generation format, which was launched in Finsbury Pavement last month and recently debuted regionally in Chichester.

EAT chairman John Derkach told MCA: “We are delighted to have appointed someone of Andrew’s pedigree to lead EAT’s next stage of growth. I don’t think there is anyone better qualified to take the company forward. Our new format in Finsbury Pavement is already exceeding expectations and we are confident we will see the same results in other sites as we begin its rollout.”

The former managing director of Pret A Manger UK joined CDG as part of the re-organisation of its management team back in October 2014.

During his 18-month spell with the group, Walker helped progress a number of significant projects including a new training and development partnership with the Alain Ducasse organisation, and the creation of Café Rouge’s Rapide grab-and-go concept.

Johnson has stepped down as chief executive of EAT in March to pursue other opportunities.

The former managing director of Costa Retail joined the c115-strong chain after 22 years at Whitbread and after overseeing a trebling of store numbers and driving consistent like-for-like growth at Costa Retail.

Johnson had told MCA last September that after its initial London openings schedule the plan was to add 30 EAT units each year across the UK for the next three years.

The company is believed to be interested in introducing the brand into Leeds, Bristol and Newcastle as well as increasing its presence in Manchester and Birmingham.