Managed pub operator Barracuda has bolstered its operations team with the appointment of Helen McGregor, former national operations director for The Restaurant Group’s Mexican brand Chiquito’s, as regional director of operations in the south.

McGregor, who has also worked in operations roles at Las Tasca, Ha Ha Bar & Grill and Mill House Inns, will be responsible for 100 pubs in the south including Barracuda’s central London businesses.

Rob Pitcher, operations and HR director for the Barracuda Pub Group, whose own appointment was announced last month, said: “Helen’s operational experience across both the pub and restaurant sectors will help strengthen our food proposition on the high street as well as driving sales growth across the estate. Helen’s a great motivator of people and she’ll be key in helping to implement a customer driven culture across all our pubs and bars.”

McGregor said: “Joining Barracuda pulls together all of the skills and disciplines I’ve obtained over the last ten years and I’m looking forward to bringing my knowledge to the team so that we can further grow the business in its next stage of development.”

Barracuda is believed to be close to completing a refinancing process, which will see US hedge fund Varde Partners take a significant stake in the Smith & Jones operator.