Change of guard for Carluccio’s as ex-Pizza Hut UK boss steps up

Carluccio's

Carluccio’s has hired the one-time boss of Pizza Hut UK to lead its business to new heights after confirming that chief executive Neil Wickers has stepped down.

Mark Jones, who was chief executive of Goals Soccer Centres until the end of last year, takes on the post that Mr Wickers held for three years. The firm said he is leaving to pursue other opportunities.

Jones’ appointment at the 100-strong restaurant chain sees him renew ties with the restaurant sector after a spell on the leisure side of the hospitality market. He formerly worked for Whitbread before rising to become the boss of Pizza Hut UK’s operations, leading the chain to financial growth.

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He also served as chief executive of Yates Group and Premium Bars and Restaurants before moving to Goals.

Mr Jones said: “I am excited to be joining Carluccio’s at this important time and look forward to working with the team to continue to develop the brand, ensuring a great experience for our customers.”

Mark Jones

Mark Jones back in 2001 when he was chief executive of Pizza Hut with Fulham Chairman Mohamed Al Fayed at the announcement of the chain’s sponsorship deal. Credit: PhilCole/ALLSPORT/Getty Images

Carluccio’s thanked Mr Wickers for the job he did during his time in charge, pointing out that he navigated the business through a “very challenging” period. His time at the helm saw the chain grow its store network and posts annual sales of £140m.

It stated: “Neil has led the company through a very challenging period for the restaurant industry, during which he has improved operational efficiency and begun to refresh the brand through the roll-out of the successful ‘Carluccio’s of the Future’ concept. The board would like to thank Neil for his contribution.”

Mr Jones isn’t the only senior executive change at Carluccio’s. Former YO! Sushi CFO Andrew Campbell has also agreed to join the chain.

Carl Leaver, chairman of Carluccio’s, said: “I am delighted that Mark and Andrew are joining Carluccio’s. They each bring valuable experience and a strong customer focus that will help to build upon Carluccio’s strong reputation for authentic Italian food.”

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