Nick White has been promoted to chief executive at Bistrot Pierre, with co-founder, John Whitehead, moving to a non-executive director role, MCA has learnt.

White, the former managing director of Bella Italia, joined the Livingbridge-backed group in October as chief operating officer.

His promotion, effective from today, will see him lead the currently 22-strong group through its next growth period.

Whitehead, who has led the group since it launched in 1994, said: “We introduced Nick to the business six months ago as part of a process to strengthen the senior team and with this succession planning in mind. Nick brings a wealth of experience that is exactly what we need as we prepare for our next stage of growth. As COO, Nick has already made a number of significant changes that have added real value to our business and the way we work.”

White said: “I have said many times that Bistrot Pierre is a very special restaurant business and I am delighted to take over the CEO role from John as we further expand the business. I have really enjoyed my role as COO and I look forward to working alongside John and the team as we continue to grow Bistrot Pierre.”

Robert Beacham, co-founder and property director added: “I am really looking forward to working with Nick as CEO and of course with John in his new role, as we continue to build the business I have been a part of for 24 years. The appointment of an external CEO is a critical milestone for us and we are delighted to have Nick lead the business going forward.”

Bistrot Pierre has described is growth plans as “prudent” with three openings planned for the next year. The first, a flagship location in a converted church, in Preston, will open in July following a £1.3m investment.