Restaurant industry stalwart Tim Lowther has been appointed to head up Europe and the Russian Federation for CKE Restaurants as general manager.

His appointment, based in Manchester, according to his LinkedIn profile, will prompt speculation that the Franklin, Tennessee-based group, is close to bringing its Carl’s Jr brand to the UK.

CKE said as long ago as 2011 that it wanted to appoint franchisees throughout the UK in areas that could support 24 or more units for the quick-service burger restaurant chain.

The two brands have more than 3,800 franchised or company-operated restaurants in 44 states and 43 foreign countries and US territories

The company’s franchising website identifies the UK as one of six “near-term target markets” for Carl’s Jr along with Germany, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Bolivia and Morocco.

Lowther has worked for several leading brands across the UK and Germany.

He most recently managed the launch of several US restaurant chains into the UK including Shake Shack and Smashburger.

Lowther has also held roles at Five Guys, Burger King, Caffe Ritazza, Compass Group and TGI Fridays in a career that began as a manager for McDonald’s in 1986.

Lowther’s appointment comes hard on the heels of Ned Lyerly’s new tenure as chief executive of CKE.