POD co-founder, Kate Skerritt, has been appointed UK chief executive of health-focused fast-casual chain, Freshii, as it gears up for expansion.

Skerritt, who helped to set up Pret A Manger’s US operation before POD, will be in charge of a growth plan of reaching 200 stores in the next five years. Freshii opened its first UK location in London’s Chancery Lane in February 2018, with a second store opening in Bow Lane next month and the first franchised store launching in Greater London around the same time. Freshii will open a total of five UK sites this year.

Freshii UK director Alan O’Neill said of the appointment: “Kate is a fantastic operator with unrivaled experience in our sector. As the co-founder of POD, she helped to develop the healthy fast casual segment in the UK. Kate brings a wealth of experience and expertise and we are absolutely delighted to welcome her on board.”

Freshii founder and chief executive Matthew Corrin said: “We have come to know Kate over a number of months, and feel she is the perfect person to lead our efforts in the UK. We have been hugely impressed with her market knowledge and enthusiasm for our brand and can’t wait to watch her take Freshii to a new level there.”

Skerritt said: “Freshii presents an incredible opportunity todeliver fantastic healthy food to consumers across the UK. I look forward to rolling out of both equity and franchised stores, and continuing to bring affordable, fresh food to the masses.”