Pret A Manger, the Bridgepoint-backed group, has appointed Pano Christou as its new managing director for the UK, MCA has learnt.

Christou, who will take up his new role on 1 October, has been with the company, which currently operates c310 sites in the UK, has been with the company since 2000 when he started as an assistant manager. For the last two years he has been the group’s UK operations director.

Chief executive Clive Schlee told MCA: “The appointment has been very well received across the business and perhaps the strength of Pret’s operations is linked to the fact that the managing directors of our three biggest markets, the UK, the US and Hong Kong, all started life in Pret shops many years ago as assistant managers - Pano in the UK, Jo Brett in the US and Sarah Lee in Hong Kong.”

Christou’s appointment comes as the group looks to enhance its presence in the regions.

Schlee told MCA in April: “The new London sites are invariably filling in gaps, although there are not many of those left, otherwise they will be relocations of sites into bigger premises. In the regions we will continue to move through the wealthier towns and city centres. Manchester is now a very big powerhouse for us now. We have nine shops open in there with a tenth opening soon, it starts to feel like London. There is a morning breakfast rush there that just never used to be.”

Earlier this week, the company announced that its Veggie Pret pop up in Soho was to become a permanent site following its continued success.

The company hopes to open further dedicated vegetarian sites, with a unit in the City mooted as a possible next destination for the new format.