Whitbread, the leisure group, has appointed Richard Willan as the new finance director for its restaurants division, M&C Report understands.

Willan joins the Brewers Fayre and Beefeater Grill operator from the Home Retail Group, where he spent seven years, including stints as head of commercial development and latterly head of trading finance for Argos.

He will report into Paul Flaum, managing director of the company’s restaurants division.

The group currently c400 restaurants generating sales of c£506m, with two strong national brands, Beefeater and Brewers Fayre, sat alongside one local restaurant business Table Table.

The company has been rolling out a remodelled Beefeater design and has made tweaks to its Brewers Fayre model, including the addition of a Chef’s Counter a variant to its Buffet Place format

Over the two years, Whitbread has made several moves to strengthen the management team and operations across its pub restaurant operation as it looks to “flex its muscles” in the sector.