Japanese and Asian food group YO! has announced the appointment of a new chairman as the brand looks to progress its ‘multi-channel strategy’ following the pandemic.
John Walden replaces Eric Nicoli who is stepping down to pursue other interests after six years at the helm.
Walden founded US-based retail focused management consultancy 13 years ago and boasts extensive board-level experience at a number of consumed businesses in both the UK and the US.
Previous roles include chairman at Naked Wines, where he oversaw the sale of Majestic Wines and executive chairman at Holland & Barratt following the acquisition by LetterOne.
From 2012-2016, Walden was managing director of Argos and then chief executive of its parent company Home Retail Group plc, where he led the digital transformation and sale of Argos to J Sainsbury plc.
Nicoli joined YO! as chairman in 2015 following the acquisition of the company by Mayfair Private Equity.
During his time at YO!, he helped lead the transformation into a global multi brand, multi-channel food group, with 75% of revenues now coming from North America.
Richard Hodgson, chief executive officer of the YO! group, said: “The last 12 months have demonstrated the value in our diversified multi-channel strategy. Against the backdrop of a very difficult year for hospitality businesses across the globe, we have been able to grow thanks to our retail business in North America, which has remained open throughout.
As we now start to emerge from the pandemic, we see significant opportunities to further progress our multi-channel strategy and I am delighted that John has agreed to join our board as chairman at this time. He brings with him extensive experience from both sides of the Atlantic which will be invaluable as the group moves to the next phase of growth.
I want to thank Eric for his role in the transformation of the group over the last six years and wish him all the best with his future projects.”
John Walden, incoming chairman of the YO! group said: “It’s very exciting to be joining the group at this stage in its development. Richard and the team have created a food group like no other, and there is still a lot to play for. I am excited about bringing my experience to the board and supporting Richard and the management team as they look to capitalise on this opportunity.”