Ottolenghi, the restaurant, retail and publishing group, has appointed Emilio Foa as group CEO.

Foa has over 20 years of experience at global high-end consumer brands, and joins from furniture company OKA where he has been CEO for the past four years.

Previously he held senior roles at Rapha and Burberry, where he was part of the leadership team during the brand’s key transformation and growth period.

His appointment suggests Ottolenghi will continue on its journey as a diversified omnichannel lifestyle brand, following a tableware licensing deal last year.

Ottolenghi, which trades from six restaurants, is approaching 20 years in business.

It has grown from a small shop in a side street in Notting Hill to a world-renowned brand, with a trend-setting emphasis on vegetables and Mediterranean flavours, led by high profile founder Yotam Ottolenghi.

In the year to 31 March 2021, the group saw its turnover decrease to £7.8m from £12.9m as a result of lockdowns.

With three of its six trading sits closes for 70% of the financial year, EBITDA dropped by £1.3m to £185,360.

The group has diversified sales channels, including eat-in, delis, online and deliveries, and grew its range of ready meals, dinner boxes and home meal kits during the year.

The group took out a £3.7m CBIL with OakNorth with £1.5m paid back.

Ottolenghi said: “We are so pleased to have Emilio on board. He represents everything that we hold dear to the brand: perfectionism, deep respect for brand values and for food, wide—ranging strategic view and meticulous execution. Myself and the other founders, Noam Bar and Cornelia Staeubli, will be supporting him in his role to bring respectful, measured growth to a brand that we love so much.”

Foa said: “I’m really excited to join Ottolenghi, an amazing brand with clear positioning and such a strong culture. I’m passionate about food and I’ve been an Ottolenghi enthusiast for more than 15 years, since I moved to London - I’m obsessed with quality and customer satisfaction, so this is a dream come true. It is also a big responsibility as I’m the first external exec taking the CEO role and I look forward to partnering very closely with Yotam, Noam and Cornelia on the next stage of the journey.”