Simon Cope, formerly of Wagamama, has joined Byron, the Huttons Collin-backed chain, as its new managing director.
Cope stepped down as Wagamama’s global brand director earlier this year after four years with the company.
Under then Wagamama chief executive David Campbell, Cope played a significant role in the group’s turnaround that has seen double digit like-for-like growth for the last three consecutive years.
Joining Byron in July, Cope will sit on the executive board and lead the next stage of the brand’s evolution, focusing on marketing, food development and property.
He will report to acting executive chairman, Dalton Philips, until the search for a new chief executive is complete.
MCA reported earlier this month that Andy Manders was to step down as chief executive of Byron, the better burger concept, after less than five months in the role.
Manders, the former managing director of the Fired Earth retail chain, replaced Byron’s founder Tom Byng as chief executive at the 71-strong brand at the start of the year.
At the same time, Philips, the former chief executive of supermarket chain Wm Morrison, became the group’s non-executive chairman. Philips is to become executive chairman and oversee the business until a new chief executive is appointed.
Cope spent 12 years at M&B in a number of senior marketing roles before joining Wagamama, which is also backed by Hutton Collins, along with Duke Street Capital. Before that he worked for Britvic in marketing and sales roles for the Pepsi brand.
Cope said: “As the pioneers of proper hamburgers in the UK, Byron is uniquely well placed to take advantage of the significant growth opportunity that exists for premium brands in the UK’s casual dining market. I’m delighted to be joining such an inspirational team, helping to build Byron’s future at this exciting time.”
Dalton Philips, acting executive chairman, said: “I’m thrilled that Simon’s joining the team. Coming from within the Hutton Collins family, he brings with him a wealth of experience and great ideas, with a first class track record of delivery. He knows this sector inside out, and we’re delighted he’s joining the team. I’m really looking forward to working with him as we continue to grow the business.”
Hutton Collins invested in Byron in 2013, in a transaction worth £100 million.MCA