Paul UK, the patisserie and coffee chain, has appointed a new chief executive amid ambitions to more than triple its size over the next four years.

The chain, which is owned by France’s Groupe Holder, a fourth-generation family business, has appointed James Fleming from Pizza Express.

Fleming replaces David Belhassen.

His appointment came as the group floated plans to open 50 outlets over the next four years, from a UK base of 23 directly operated locations.

The chain, which was launched in France and also has aggressive expansion plans for the USA, will focus its expansion drive in London.

The Paul brand, which was launched in the UK at Covent Garden in 2000, has a presence in 27 countries.