Byron, the Hutton Collins-backed group, has appointed Adrian Saunders, formerly of Wagamama, as its new head of property, MCA understands.

Saunders stepped down as head of acquisitions at the Wagamama at the start of this year after three and a half years with the Hutton Collins-backed noodle chain.

He will take up his new position full time from the end of July reporting into recently appointed managing director Simon Cope, who he worked with at Wagamama.

At the same time, MCA understands that Byron’s search for a new chief executive is down to the final two candidates, with Nick White, formerly of Bella Italia and The Restaurant Group, believed to be one of them.

GBK chief executive Alasdair Murdoch, former TRG chief executive Danny Breithaupt and ex-Brakes managing director Duncan Gibson have also been linked to the role.

Marc Balding stood down as property director at Byron earlier this year and recently joined Deliveroo as a property consultant to help oversee the expansion of its kitchen-only Editions format.

Balding stepped down from Byron after nearly four years with the 71-strong chain.