Spanish restaurant group Iberica is gearing up for its next stage of growth, which will include the search for new funding, a new managing director and a new site in Covent Garden, MCA has learnt.

The eight-strong group has appointed Alex Rojas, who has stepped down as business development director at Gaucho to become its new managing director. His appointment sees founder Marcos Fernandez-Pardo become chief executive of the business.

Fernandez-Pardo told MCA that in his new role he will be able to set out the strategic plans for the group’s next stage of growth from 10 sites to 30, whilst also looking to secure new funding to back its expansion plans both in the UK and internationally.

Rojas, who joins Iberica next month, spent over six years at Gaucho, which was acquired earlier this year by Equistone in a c£100m deal, including stints as an operations manager and group operations director.

He joins Iberica, which is chaired by ex-Gaucho director Stephen Gee, as it gears up for further growth in the UK, with new openings planned in Edinburgh next June and Covent Garden next October.

Rojas will initially work with Fernandez-Pardo on the next stage of the group’s development.

Fernandez-Pardo said: “I always knew that once the company got to its original target of 10 sites it would have to re-evaluate the strategy. At that point my job will be done here. I set out that goal and I have other projects I can focus on when we get to that point. I will aid Alex but my wider role is to plan that new strategy and make sure it is executed.

“In terms of expansion, we have started to look at opportunities in such cities as Brighton, Bristol, Cambridge and Oxford for our 2017/2018 openings pipeline.”