Paul Symonds, the new chief executive of Laurel Pub Company, Robert Tchenguiz's high street pub business, has announced a restructuring of the company to give it a clearer direction going forward and to grow its food business. Symonds, the ex-Spirit Group executive, replaced former chief executive Julian Sargeson, who left the company by mutual consent in May, and has immediately reworked a number of his predecessor’s changes. The company’s Circuit and Town Local operations, which were set up by Sargeson, have been brought together to form a new Pubs and Bars division, consisting of 300 sites split into three geographical areas – North, Midlands and South. Toby Smith, the ex-Spirit Group executive, has been appointed managing director of Pubs and Bars. The company has also announced that Mary Sharp has become managing director of Slug & Lettuce, which has been split from the company’s Quality Food division into a separate business alongside Ha! Ha! Bar & Canteen. The group said it is currently looking for a new managing director for Ha! Ha!, with an appointment due at the end of October. Symonds said the restructured company’s initial focus would be on expanding and enhancing its Slug & Lettuce brand, which currently has 55 sites across the country. He said: “We will be accelerating our Slug & Lettuce roll out programme and will look to have a total of 70 sites open in the next few months. It is one of the strongest bar and restaurant concepts in the market place and a lot of great work has been done to revitalise the brand, which we are keen to take advantage of. To drive its food sales the company has appointed Perry Huntley, the former head of pubs and bars food development at Mitchells & Butlers, as its new head of food development. Huntley’s appointment follows that of ex-JD Wetherspoons executive Suzanne Baker as commercial director earlier this year, which signalled its determination to build its food sales. Symonds said: “This reorganisation brings a shift in emphasis towards food sales. Food is the main driver for the business and we have a huge opportunity to push one and substantially grow our overall food sales.” Clare Martin, formerly head of marketing at JDW Wetherspoon, joins Laurel as brand development manager.