Rob Papps, who has been managing director for Nando’s UK & Ireland for the last eight years, is to become the group chief executive of the c1,200-strong international restaurant chain, MCA has learnt.

Papps, who has been with the peri peri chicken operator for 20 years in total, will take over from Andrew Lynch, the former group chief executive of SSP, next March.

Lynch, who joined Nando’s in 2014 as group chief executive, will take on the role of chairman.

The company will appoint a new chief executive for its c400-strong UK & Ireland operation in due course.

Papps has played a significant role in Nando’s become one of the most successful and admired brands in the UK restaurant sector.

A spokesperson for Nando’s said: “Nando’s can confirm that Rob Papps has been appointed CEO of Nando’s Group with effect from March 1, 2019. Rob’s appointment follows twenty years working at Nando’s, eight of which in the role of CEO of the UK and Ireland business. The appointment of an internal candidate, following a competitive process including an extensive external search, is a testament to the talent within Nando’s and will help to ensure continuity.

“Rob will replace Andrew Lynch, who announced in March 2018 that he intended to retire from executive life in 2019, five years after joining Nando’s. Andrew will take on the role of Chairman, which will help to build on the strong and growing international platform that has been created over the past five years. Nando’s will appoint a new CEO for the UK and Ireland business and will announce their decision in due course.”