SSP Group has appointed Kari Daniels as CEO for the UK & Ireland.

She succeeds Richard Lewis, who will step down from the role and depart the business at the end of the month following a transition period.

Daniels spent more than 20 years at Tesco, recently as CEO of Tesco Ireland for the past years, where she had responsibility for over 150 stores and more than 13,000 colleagues.

Prior to this she was UK commercial director at Tesco.

She currently serves as a non-executive director at Topps Tiles.

SSP said Daniels will work with the UK leadership team to accelerate growth and profit, build market leading food and beverage propositions, collaborate with clients and brand partners, and shape the sustainability agenda.

Richard Lewis will continue in a consultative capacity until the end of April whilst Daniels completes her induction.

SSP operates restaurants, bars, cafes, food courts and retail stores in airports, train stations, motorway service areas and other leisure locations.

In the UK and Ireland, it runs some 30 brands in approximately 200 locations.

Patrick Coveney, CEO of SSP Group, said: “We are delighted to welcome Kari to SSP. Her extensive knowledge and experience of both retail and food industries make her an ideal successor to Richard in the role, and I’m confident she will accelerate growth in our UK business by putting a clear focus on developing our customer offer and innovating our brands and concepts to cater for the changed world we now operate in. Kari joins at an exciting time for the Group as we continue to make strong progress in our recovery and deliver our growth strategy to further strengthen our market-leading positions in food travel markets globally.

“I would like to thank Richard for his invaluable contribution to the Group during his time in the role.

“Richard successfully led SSP UK, Ireland and the Netherlands through the COVID-19 pandemic, managing the needs of the business, our clients and customers through extremely challenging and volatile times and steering the business through the recovery. The Board and I wish him the best in his future endeavours.”