The Restaurant Group (TRG) are hunting for a new chairman after current one Ken Hanna has told the company he will not be standing for re-election at the next AGM in 2024.
Shares rose five per cent on Friday morning after Hanna, who has been at TRG since the start of 2022, said he is leaving one of the UK’s largest hospitality businesses due to personal reasons.
However, despite the Wagamama owner raising its annual profit guidance yesterday after a revenue boost, it has come under intense pressure from shareholders this year, questioning its leadership.
For months, its second largest shareholder Oasis, has laid demands on TRG to try to lift its weak share price.
It called on the group for an “immediate” change of governance because it had “one of the worst performing share prices of any UK leisure company”.
Hanna said: “It has been a privilege to work at TRG and I will be leaving the company in great shape with the business trading really strongly, outperforming the market and making good progress on its strategic options.”
Until a successor is chosen, Hanna will remain in his role as chairman at TRG to smooth the handover.
Andy Hornby, chief executive of TRG, said Hanna was an “exceptional” chairman during a tough post-Covid period.
Victoria Scholar, head of investment at Interactive Investor, said: “Following the optimistic update, Hanna clearly decided now is a good time to depart, rather that engaging in a dispute with activist investors that could detract from the company’s gathering momentum.
“Like many businesses in the hospitality sector, Restaurant Group has been grappling with macro headwinds like the cost-of-living crisis and inflation cost pressures.
However, it has been carrying out cost saving measures including closing a number of venues that have helped to improve its financials and as a result, its outlook is improving.”