Marta Velez has left Itsu, after over six years with the Julian Metcalfe-led company, to join Black Sheep Coffee, the fast-growing brand, as its new operations director.

Velez joins the 17-strong Black Sheep after a year and a half as head of talent at Itsu. Previous to that she was head of operations, London, at the chain.

She joins Black Sheep as its gears up for further expansion in London and Manchester. It has openings lined up in the capital in Centre Point, Cannon Street and Ruskin Square.

It made its regional debut last year in Manchester, with an opening at Piccadilly Place. A further site in the city will open at 60 Spring Gardens.

Last September, Kieran Sherlock joined the specialty coffee roaster and café operator, as its new property director.

During his 12 years at YO! Sushi Sherlock helped acquire and develop about 70 new restaurants in both the UK and US.

He is tasked with overseeing Black Sheep’s continued expansion across the UK and an eventual international play.