Oakman Inns & Restaurants, the award-winning pub operator, has recruited Alex Ford as its first operations director.

Ford is currently operations manager at Greene King and his appointment, starting 12 May, fills the final hole in Oakman’s senior management structure in preparation for its next stage of growth.

The move follows the pub firm’s appointments a year ago of Sarah Sansom, ex-Mitchells & Butlers, as marketing manager; Jill Scatchard as HR manager and, more recently, of Joseph Evans, the former financial controller of Whitbread Hotels and Restaurants, as finance director.

“We now have the team to run a much bigger organisation,” Peter Borg Neal, Oakman Inns founder, said.

The company has just secured a former Indian restaurant in St Albans for its ninth pub/ restaurant, which is due to open in July after an £800,000 refit. It will operate as The Beech House, the same name as the Beaconsfield unit.

Unlike Oakman’s other sites, The Beech House pub/restaurants are in more standard properties rather than in character buildings. Borg Neal said the brand may be used again in the future.

He added that the company is looking to raise a further amount, circa £2m, from the Enterprise Investment Scheme, as part of a financial restructure that will help Oakman fulfil its ambition of opening another three sites this year. The firm raised £5.5m through the EIS at the end of last year.