Yo Sushi hires Pizza Express mastermind to spearhead international expansion

 
Oliver Gill
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Sushi chef William Tawng displays a sush
Current Yo Sushi chief executive Robin Rowland has been with the firm for 18 years (Source: Getty)

Yo Sushi has secured the services of the former boss of Pizza Express as it looks to accelerate international growth plans.

The restaurant, the world's largest sushi restaurant chain outside of Japan, will unveil Richard Hodgson as its new chief executive tomorrow morning, sources familiar with the situation told City A.M..

Hodgson, who masterminded Pizza Express' international expansion, will replace Robin Rowland. The changes have been in the offing since Yo Sushi's majority owners, private equity firm Mayfair Equity Partners, first backed a management buy out in 2015, Sky News first reported.

Read more: Yo Sushi founder Simon Woodroffe: I want to be the next Richard Branson

Rowland will stay on the Yo Sushi board as a non-exec director and retain his shareholding in the firm. The new appointment draws a line under Rowland's 18 years at Yo Sushi, during which time the company has grown from three outlets to almost 100 and has had three different private equity backers.

Last week, Yo Sushi announced a £60m expansion across the Atlantic by buying Canada's Bento Sushi.

Yo Sushi has managed to deal with considerable headwinds facing the high street, growing like-for-like sales by five per cent over the last year.

A spokesperson for Yo Sushi declined to comment.

Read more: Pizza Express turns around UK sales but looks abroad for extra toppings

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