Comptoir CEO and chairman step down following resignation calls

By James McAllister

- Last updated on GMT

Comptoir chief executive Chaker Hanna and chairman Richard Kleiner step down following resignation calls from founder Tony Kitous

Related tags: Comptoir Libanais, Casual dining, Chaker Hanna, Multi-site, R200

Comptoir Group chief executive Chaker Hanna and chairman Richard Kleiner have stepped down from their respective roles with immediate effect, following calls from founder Tony Kitous for them to resign.

Kitous wrote to the group's board last month​, calling for Hanna and Kleiner to step down.

At the time he said that in the event that neither resigned he would vote against the re-election of the chairman at the AGM on 30 June 2022. However, Kleiner was subsequently re-elected as chairman​ despite the resolution to re-elect him not passing at the AGM.

Amid the pair's departure, Beatrice Lafon and Jean-Michel Orieux have been appointed to the board as independent non-executive chair and independent non-executive director, respectively.

The board intends to begin an immediate and independent search for a new CEO, through an executive search firm. Both internal and external candidates will be considered, and Kitous will not be standing for the role of CEO.

In the interim period, Orieux will become interim CEO until the new candidate is appointed.

Lafon has operated at CEO level for nearly 20 years and as a non-executive director for over five years. Previously a non-executive director of PizzaExpress and SuperDry, she chairs a number of businesses in the UK, including Crosstown.

Orieux was formerly CEO of Ping Pong, where he formulated and implemented a turnaround and brand strategy to drive international expansion. He became CEO of Paul UK and USA in 2013 before joining the board in 2018. As CEO of the Argyll Club, he led the company through a review of its core proposition, strategy and performance.

“I am excited to be joining Comptoir as we look to the future,” says Lafon.

“Our employees are central to our success and I look forward to meeting our talented staff and ensuring we appoint a best-in-class CEO to lead this exciting next phase.”

In a statement, Hanna, who will receive a cash termination/notice payment of approximately £720,000 under his settlement agreement to waive all claims against the company, praised Kleiner and the entire team at Comptoir for their dedication and commitment in building the company over his 12 and a half year tenure. 

He said: “I am leaving the business with current record performance in sales, profit and also record cash position. To this end I’m very grateful to each of our team to enable me to be leaving the business in such a state. I wish the company well.”

Comptoir Group has also announced the appointment of FinnCap Group as its nominated advisor and broker with immediate effect.

Related topics: Business & Legislation, Casual Dining

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