TGI Friday's managing director in the UK, Phil Broad, is leaving to head up the UK roll-out of Outback Steakhouse, the Australian-themed US restaurant chain.

Broad, who has a stake in the newly formed company, will take on the role of managing director at the end of May.

He is in partnership with brothers Colum and Ciaran Butler of Irish based company Entertainment Enterprises Ltd, owners of leisure centres Leisureplex and franchisees of TGI Friday's in Ireland.

Hugh Connerty, president of Outback Steakhouse International said: "We have been looking for a quality partner in the UK for a few years and now believe that we have the best possible combination of people to bring the outback experience to the consumers in the UK. We have been overwhelmed by the level of consumer interest in our brand and see the UK as a great market to continue our international expansion"

Outback has approximately 600 sites in the USA and 50 internationally.

System-wide global sales will exceed $2bn (£1.27bn) in 2000.