Longtime Pret a Manger CEO Clive Schlee, left, will retire in September and be succeeded by Pano Christou, who had been named chief operating officer of the brand earlier this year, the company said Monday.
Brand owner JAB Holding said the London-based quick-service Pret a Manger sandwich chain, which has 550 units, will be part of the new division called Pret Panera Holding Co., which was announced earlier this year.
Schlee had served as CEO for 16 years, since 2003.
“There is never an easy time to stop being CEO of a wonderful company, but with the completion of our EAT deal tomorrow, and the roll out of the Pret Allergy Plan, now is a good time for a new CEO to take Pret on the next stage of its journey,” Schlee said in a statement.
Pret a Manger announced plans in May to buy British food and beverage retailer EAT and has been converting many of the 100+ EAT stores into the new plant-based Veggie Pret concept. As of May 2019, there were four Veggie Prets across the United Kingdom.
Schlee said he was pleased Christou, left, would succeed him. “He knows our shops through and through and will keep Pret true to the values that have underpinned its success,” Schlee said.
Schlee will remain as a non-executive director of the company as Pret prepares for the transition to Christou.
“I am honored to follow Clive as CEO,” Christou said in a statement. “Pret has big plans for the next few years – integrating EAT, developing Veggie Pret, delivering our digital transformation, and leading the way in supporting customers with allergies. I want to thank Clive for his leadership over the last 16 years, and we look forward to building on his legacy.”
Pret’s estimated latest year sales were $245 million, up 9.5% from the Preceding Year, according 2019 Nation’s Restaurant News’ Top 200 research. The company has units across nine markets, including 91 U.S. locations.
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