Clive Schlee is to step down as the CEO of Pret A Manger at the end of September 2019, with Pret’s chief operating officer Pano Christou appointed as his successor.

Retiring from his position Schlee will maintain a role in the business as a non-executive director.

Schlee commented: “There is never an easy time to stop being CEO of a wonderful company, but with the completion of our EAT deal tomorrow, and the roll out of the Pret Allergy Plan, now is a good time for a new CEO to take Pret on the next stage of its journey.

“I’m really pleased Pano is taking over. He knows our shops through and through and will keep Pret true to the values that have underpinned its success.”

During his time at Pret, Schlee has grown its sales ten-fold, taking it to more than 550 shops across nine markets.

Commenting on his promotion to CEO, Christou said: “I am honoured to follow Clive as CEO. Pret has big plans for the next few years – integrating EAT, developing Veggie Pret, delivering our digital transformation, and leading the way in supporting customers with allergies. I want to thank Clive for his leadership over the last sixteen years, and we look forward to building on his legacy.”

Pret chairman Oliver Goudet added: “Since 2003, Clive has become the beating heart of Pret, transforming it into a much-loved, leading international brand. While I am sad to see Clive leave as CEO, I am thrilled he has agreed to become a non-executive board director, where he will continue to play a key role in stewarding Pret’s people, culture and passion, which are all so integral to its success.”

Christou started as an assistant manager in Carnaby St Pret nineteen years ago, working his way up to become managing director of Pret UK in 2014 and COO at the start of this year.