Wilkinson was CEO of La Tasca for four years from 2011, during which time he oversaw a turnaround of the brand that led to its acquisition by Casual Dining Group for £20-£25m in 2015.
He joins Byron following a turbulent year for the burger group, which has closed 21 sites after entering a Company Voluntary Arrangement (CVA) in January 2018.
Three Hills Capital Partners, which became the majority shareholder in Byron after it began its CVA, says Wilkinson will oversee a planned refurbishment of the group’s remaining 53 restaurants after it secured a £10m investment in February.
“[Byron is] now well funded and will be investing in restaurant refurbishments and positioning the brand to be the best in what is a rapidly changing market,” says Wilkinson.
Byron has undergone a series of changes to its senior team in the last year. Former CEO Simon Cope stepped down in December, while chief operating office Nick Young departed the company in August.
The company posted a £55m pre-tax loss on sales of £88m in the year ending June 2017.
It has since launched a turnaround plan which includes a “complete overhaul” of its design, service, supply chain and menu, including expanding its range of vegan and vegetarian options.
Byron was founded in 2007 and now operates 53 UK sites, mainly in London.