Restaurant Group rocked as chief executive makes ‘untimely’ exit with the company still reeling from £559m Wagamama takeover
- Shares in Restaurant Group tumbled 12 per cent in early trading to £1.29
- Boss Andy McCue unveiled plans to leave the company due to personal reasons
- It comes shortly after the group bought Wagamama in a controversial deal
Barely has the dust settled on Restaurant Group’s takeover of Wagamama and its chief executive Andy McCue is heading for the exit.
Shares in the Garfunkel’s and Chiquito owner tumbled 12 per cent in early trading as news of the boss’s ‘untimely’ departure triggered a sell off.
McCue broke the news to shareholders today that he will step down from his post because of ‘extenuating personal circumstances’.
Restaurant Group tabled a bid for Wagamama last October – a move that stunned investors
He will remain at the company until a successor is found.
The resignation swiftly follows the group’s £559million acquisition of Japanese food chain Wagamama, which raised eyebrows when it was first announced last October.
It came at tough time for the eating-out sector, with many firms axing branches and making cuts to help fend off a slowdown in consumer spending.
Although the acquisition was green lit by investors, just under 61 per cent of shareholders supported the deal.
McCue acknowledged the unfortunate timing of his exit.
‘While I recognise that this decision is untimely, it is the right one for me and my family. We have a strong team in the business and a clear plan which we are focused on delivering,’ he said.
Chairwoman Debbie Hewitt said: ‘Whilst we are clearly disappointed that he will not be able to provide the long-term leadership for the business, we understand and respect the decision he has made purely on personal grounds.’
The Wagamama deal formally completed in December, bringing almost 200 branches into the group’s portfolio.
‘What an unfortunate outcome for Restaurant Group,’ said AJ Bell investment director Russ Mould.
‘Losing its chief executive at such a crucial point in its recovery story is devastating for shareholders who have already gone through hell over the past few years.
‘While we don’t know the full story as to why Andy McCue has resigned beyond it being for personal reasons, the news will rock the ship once more at Restaurant Group,’ he said.
Last month the firm said its sales had taken a dip, despite efforts to revamp menus and speed up service.
‘Whoever takes the top seat will definitely need some bright ideas to get this one-time leisure sector superstar back on track,’ Mould added.