Tom Mercer has stepped down from EAT to join Coco Di Mama, the Azzurri Group-backed, quick-service Italian concept, as its first head of people.

Mercer spent 13 years at EAT, including the last year and a half as head of HR and Learning. He previously had stints at Chicago Rib Shack and Chiquito.

Coco di Mama recently opened its 21st site in the capital, on the former Yumchaa site in Tottenham Street, Fitzrovia.

The chain opened its twentieth site earlier this year in the Broadway shopping centre, in a unit alongside Pret A Manger, Leon and Wasabi.

In February, EAT, the Lyceum-backed chain, became the latest sector operator to call in advisors to assess its options.

The c110-strong company is working with KPMG on a restructure of the business, which could lead to a number of store closures.