Pizza Express has announced the completion of its recapitalisation, appointing former Wagamama chief executive David Campbell as its new CEO.

Following a two-year stint as executive chairman at Bill’s, Campbell will be joining the board alongside former Asda CEO and current Co-op chairman Allan Leighton, who has been appointed as chairman for the business.

Leighton’s appointment follows his departure today (6 November) from the board of The Restaurant Group, where he has held the role of senior independent non-executive director since 2018.

Zoe Bowley, MD of PizzaExpress UK & Ireland, will also be joining the main board, alongside group CFO Andy Pellington.

The company’s new capital structure, plans for which it announced back in August, will see its total debt reduced by over £400m, from £735m to £319m.

It will include the immediate injection of £40m of new capital, and the business has acquired a further £90m of funds from the new owners.

As part of the restructure, the brand has announced it is to close 73 unviable sites and reduce its UK team by up to 1,400 people.

Commenting on his new role, Campbell said: “Pizza Express is an iconic brand, which has enjoyed much success over its 55-year history. The chance to steer the company to even greater heights in the years ahead is an honour.

“First, I want to acknowledge the outstanding work of Zoe Bowley, the leadership team, all Pizza Express colleagues, and the support of business partners, during these extremely challenging times. I am very much looking forward to working with the team, and with the backing of a strong balance sheet, on some exciting times ahead.”

Leighton added: “This is a unique opportunity in casual dining. With a significant recapitalisation of the company, and substantial further funds committed, we look to building on our position as a leader in the casual dining market, once Covid restrictions are eased.

“There is great future for Pizza Express delivering great pizza and a brilliant customer experience.”