Rebecca Payton has stepped down as operations director of the Azzurri Group-owned Zizzi restaurant chain, after nearly four years with the brand, MCA understands.

Payton joined Zizzi in September 2012, after 15 years with JD Wetherspoon, including stints as marketing director, catering director, head of food and acting commercial director. She leaves Zizzi to become a management consultant.

At the same time, Phil Boyd, a former JDW regional director, has moved from being operations director at sister brand ASK to take on Payton’s former role at Zizzi.

Boyd joined ASK as head of operations in 2010, stepping up to the operations director in September 2012. Previous to that he was a regional director at Esporta and spent nearly six years at JDW.

Zizzi plans to reach 145 sites by the end of its current financial year and expects to add between eight and 10 restaurants a year to its estate going forward. It recently opened its first site in Dublin and will soon open in Belfast.