West Cornwall Pasty Company, the Gresham-backed retailer, has appointed Stephen Gipson, a turnaround specialist, as its new chief executive after the departure of Gavin Williams, M&C Report has learnt.

Gipson was previously chief executive of SRG Ltd, which traded as Suits You and Racing Green, and led the turnaround of the business. Previous to that he spent six years at peacocks as retail and HR director. There he was originally recruited to turnaround a failing subsidiary

He replaces Williams, who took over from Richard Nieto in 2010, at the c70-strong chain.

No one from Gresham was available for comment, although Gipson on his Linkedin account said the private equity group had retained him to lead a new phase of growth at the pasty chain..

The private equity group recently exited Town Centre Restaurants, in which it acquired a 70% stake as part of a £48m secondary buy-out in 2006, after the business underwent a pre-pack administration.

West Cornwall Pasty Company completed a refinancing in August 2010, which saw its private equity backers plough more money into the group to cover bank debts.

Earlier this year it reported a loss for the year to 24 February 2012, on the back of a “tidying up” of its estate.

The company reported a pre-tax loss for the year of £606.5k, compared to a profit of £374.5k in the previous year. Turnover for the year fell from £26.8m to £24m, while it reported an operating loss of £608.1k compared to a £554.1k profit in 2011.

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