Ireland’s Rocket Restaurants Group, the Eddie Rocket’s operator, has appointed a new managing director and welcomed former Subway executive, James Walker, to its board.

The company, which has 51 restaurants and diners across Ireland, Spain and now in Germany, has appointed Adrian Crean, former managing director of McDonald’s Restaurants in Ireland, to take on the same role.

He succeeds company founder, Niall Fortune, who is now company chairman.

Crean said: “I am really looking forward to the opportunity of building the Rocket Restaurants Group brands and business both domestically and internationally as well as working with our teams and franchise partners both at home and abroad.”

Walker stepped down from his position as Subway’s vice president for North America in January. He had previously held the role of vice president for development globally. Prior to this he led the Johnny Rockets American diner brand, which grew to 390 restaurants in 32 countries during his time with the company. In 2017, Johnny Rockets agreed a “co-operative arrangement” with Rockets Restaurant Group, with the aim of expanding the two core brands into the UK.

Walker, who will be tasked with growing Eddie Rocket’s internationally, said: “I am delighted to be working with such an ambitious company as the Rocket Restaurant Group and foresee immense growth potential. We will be immediately targeting expansion within the European Union.”

Fortune, said: “I am very excited by the addition of two very experienced food industry professionals to Rocket Restaurants and look forward to significant international growth and expansion.”