Pret A Manger, the Bridgepoint-owned company, has dropped a hint that it is set to further explore franchising, after appointing Michael Haley, director – licensed and franchised stores EMEA at Starbucks, as its new chief partnership officer.

MCA has learnt that Haley, who has spent 15 years at Starbucks, including three in his most recent role, will take over from Nick Candler, who left Pret earlier this summer after 12 years with the business.

Clive Schlee, Pret chief executive told MCA: “Nick has indeed left Pret after twelve very valuable years and he will be much missed. He held a variety of senior positions with us and was most recently Chief Partnership Officer. He is chairman of Cook and is going to focus on this business and his other interests. Nick is being succeeded at Pret by Michael Haley, whom we have recruited for the role because he has extensive experience in partnerships after fifteen years with Starbucks.”

Earlier this summer, the company announced that it had signed its first franchise agreement in the US which would also bring its first university shops to the country.

The company opened two shops at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, followed by one at the University of Chicago.

The three shops have opened in partnership with Bon Appétit Management Company, an on-site restaurant company operating more than 1,000 cafes in 33 states for corporations, universities and museums, as well as public restaurants.

Candler had been with the sandwich shop chain since 2006 when he joined as the group’s chief financial officer, assuming the position of chief operating officer seven years later.