Andy Manders is to step down as chief executive of Byron, the Hutton Collins-backed, better burger concept, after less than five months in the role, MCA has learnt.

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, Dalton 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. A search for a replacement for Manders has already begun.

A spokesperson for Byron told MCA: “Andy Manders has decided to step down from the role of chief executive for personal reasons. A search for a new chief executive is already underway and in the meantime Dalton Philips, Byron’s chairman, will act in the role of executive chairman until a new chief executive is in place. Andy will remain with the business for a few weeks to handover his responsibilities to Dalton. He will leave with the best wishes of the whole business.”

Manders imminent departure will follow that of Fred Smith (head of food) and Marc Balding (property director), who both stepped down earlier this year, joining Flat Iron and Deliveroo Editions respectively. Nigel Sherwood, operations director, stepped down at the start of the year.

Last November, the group announced the departure of Byng. He officially left the business at the start of the year, but remains a shareholder and continues his involvement with Byron as an advisor to the board.

Last month, the company, which was acquired by Hutton Collins in 2013 in a deal worth £100m, reported that its revenue had increased by 17% to £80.5m in the year to June 2016. EBITDA before pre-opening costs stood at £11.6m, an increase of 7.6% on the prior year.

The group opened 13 restaurants in the year to June 2016 (compared to eight openings in the previous financial year), taking its estate to 65. The number of employees increased from 1,371 to 1,709.

The company told MCA that it continued to invest in its central and restaurant teams and resources in order to “drive future growth and support the openings programme”.

The increase in revenue came in the year before the group was impacted by the furore surrounding the deportation of 35 of its staff after a HMRC sting and the unwarranted backlash that ensued.