Wagamama hires retail veteran Allan Leighton as new chairman

Kasmira Jefford
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Wagamama is ramping up its expansion with 14 new restaurants opened last year
Asian restaurant chain Wagamama is set to appoint Allan Leighton as chairman, paving the way for further expansion overseas.
The retail and leisure veteran, best known for turning around supermarket chain Asda, has had a prolific career chairing and advising companies including Royal Mail, the Co-operative Group, and retailers BHS, Peacocks and Pandora.

Former Asda boss Allan Leighton

He has agreed to chair Wagamama, according to reports, as the company presses ahead with expansion in the US.
The first Wagamama restaurant was launched in Bloomsbury in 1992 by Alan Yau, the entrepreneur behind the upmarket restaurant chain Hakkasan, who no longer owns a stake in the company.
It was bought by Duke Street Capital in 2011, which has grown the chain to 102 UK outlets and more than 36 franchises overseas, including the US. Leighton told The Sunday Times he envisioned Wagamama having a couple of hundred in the US eventually.

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