The East Anglian-based pub, inn and restaurant group has promoted Charley O’Toole to people director.

O’Toole joined the 16-site business as head of people in November last year, following five years at Bill’s Restaurants, most recently as head of people.

Previous positions include head of people at Coco Di Mama and HR business partner at Metropolitan Pub Company.

Chestnut Group’s founder and managing director Philip Turner spoke to MCA earlier this year about how the group had looked to tackle staffing shortages in the coastal-based sites and tourist locations it operates in.

Last year Chestnut decided against opening on Christmas Day and Boxing Day “to give those two days back to our team”.

“The cost would have been in excess of £300k worth of lost revenue, but the benefits from retaining team and recruiting people off the back of that prove [significant],” Turner tells MCA.

Giving staff access to heavily discounted room rates at the group’s other sites also proved phenomenally successful in a second Covid-afflicted year which saw staycations and domestic tourism boom.