Former McDonald’s boss Steve Easterbrook has taken over as chief executive at restaurant chain Wagamama.
He fills the role laid vacant when Steve Hill stepped down in March after six years with the business.
Easterbrook joins with extensive experience in the owned and franchised casual dining sector. He joined McDonald’s in 1993 after training as an accountant at Price Waterhouse.
In the 18 years that followed Easterbrook held senior management positions at the burger chain’s corporate headquarters in Chicago, as UK CEO with responsibility for Sweden, Finland, Denmark, Norway and Ireland, and in operations and finance.
Easterbrook has been widely credited for turning around the McDonald’s UK business with a strategy that included a major restaurant redesign and investment in employee training.
He became chief brand officer for McDonald’s Corporation in 2010, a specially created role that saw Easterbrook assume responsibility for the McDonald’s brand on a global basis, and the following year he joined Gondola as CEO of PizzaExpress.
David Williams, chairman of Wagamama said: “Steve Easterbrook will be a terrific addition to an already strong team. I have admired what he has done in his previous roles and I and the rest of the board are delighted that he is joining to help us in our next phase of development.”
Easterbrook added: “Wagamama is a great business with huge potential both here in the UK and further afield. I am looking forward to working with the team, Duke Street and Hutton Collins in realising the full potential of this exciting and formidable brand.”
Wagamama, backed by Duke Street and Hutton Collins, plans to open 15 restaurants a year in the UK alongside significant expansion of the international business. It currently operates 84 restaurants, three of which are in the US and 35 franchised globally.