Former Tiger Tiger boss given reins to Cafe Rouge chain

 
Michael Bow
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THE OWNER of restaurant chains Cafe Rouge, Strada and Bella Italia has replaced its chief executive with the driving force behind London hotspots Jewel in Piccadilly, City institution Abacus and the Tiger Tiger nightclub chain.

Tragus Group, which also owns London-based restaurants Belgo and Amalfi, has recruited Steve Richards, who was most recently the chief executive of Novus Leisure, which owns Tiger Tiger and a number of other nightspots.

The appointment marks the end of the two-year reign of current chief executive John Derkach, who was appointed in August 2012. Derkach will leave at the end of this month.

The decision to bring in a new chief executive comes as Tragus changes hands from its private equity owner Blackstone to the US debt investor Apollo Global Management.

Apollo snapped up Tragus’ debt in the secondary market along with a number of other investors and converted its debt stake to take control of the business last month.

Tragus had been struggling for some time, due to poor performance and its debt pile.

Pre-tax losses for the year ending June 2013 rose to £36.1m from £18.4m in the previous year, according to annual accounts filed earlier this year. Tragus Group declined to comment on the appointment last night.