Pret has announced a series of board changes as the company continues to expand internationally.

JAB partner Konrad Meyer, who led the acquisition of the food to go chain at JAB in 2018, has been appointed chairman of Pret.

He succeeds Olivier Goudet, who led the board for the past six years and also recently stepped down as CEO of JAB.

Under Goudet’s chairmanship since JAB’s acquisition in 2018, Pret successfully navigated the pandemic and developed a new growth plan, including major franchise partnerships for the first time and an expansion of its digital capabilities through the Club Pret subscription model.

Meyer led the 2018 acquisition and has been a board member since, as well as serving as interim CFO at the height of the pandemic in 2020. He joined JAB Holdings six years ago after a decade in private equity.

Pret co-founder Sinclair Beecham will rejoin the business; while he will not formally rejoin the board, he will be advising the business.

Larry Billett, Pret’s former chairman from 2003 to 2011 – who advised the business through Bridgepoint’s acquisition in 2008 – will return to Pret as a non-executive director and chair of the audit committee.

Separately, Patrice de Talhouët and Nathalie Roos will step down as non-executive directors.

The appointments come as Pret moves into the next phase of its ‘post-pandemic transformation’ to focus on strong foundations and further international growth.

The chain now serves customers in 18 markets – up from four markets in 2018 – with the board changes to support Pret as it enters further development partnerships with franchise partners in new countries.

Commenting on the changes, Konrad Meyer said: “We are very proud of the transformation of Pret over the past few years, and we remain focused on the essence of Pret: happy teams and happy customers, and serving people with the Joy of Pret. As a final step in leaving the pandemic behind, we are implementing plans to reduce debt. I would like to thank Olivier for his strategic vision and leadership throughout the turbulent pandemic, and for tripling the number of Pret’s international markets. Olivier is handing over Pret as it returns to its pre-pandemic strength, now with much enhanced international and digital footprints.

“I am also delighted to be welcoming Sinclair and Larry back to the business. With Larry’s return to the Board, and Sinclair’s continued support, we are bringing together the brilliance of Pret’s past with the promise of Pret’s future, as we support Pano Christou and the Pret management team in delivering its winning recipe of delicious, freshly made food and organic coffee with fast, friendly service.”

Olivier Goudet added: “Being the Chairman of Pret has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my career. This is an exceptional business, with wonderful people, delicious food and coffee, and a dedicated management team led by Pano Christou. With Konrad as Chair, and Larry returning to the Board, Pret is well set for the future. I look forward to supporting my colleagues in any way I can and to staying invested over the coming years.”

Pret CEO Pano Christou added: “Olivier has been a great champion of Pret and on behalf of all of us in the business I want to thank him for his support and leadership. We are delighted that Konrad will be succeeding Olivier as Chairman and I have thoroughly enjoyed working closely with him over the past six years. Together, we have transformed Pret since I became CEO and built it into an emerging global business today. We have done this not just through innovation and by developing of a new growth model, but also by doing things the right way, without using a CVA or otherwise short-changing our partners. Our priority now is to build on the foundations that are in place for substantial further growth around the world.”

Beecham and Billett jointly commented: “Our partnership with JAB since 2018, even through the unprecedented hardship of the pandemic, has been exemplary. The long-held values of Pret’s culture, combined with effective innovation, have been the wind in Pret’s sails since the beginning in 1986. We look forward to working with the board and Pret’s strong management team to reaffirm Pret’s mission to do what’s best for the customer, which was always the simple foundation beneath Pret’s growth.”