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Carluccio's takes on Neil Wickers as new chief executive for national Italian restaurant group

Published:  13 January, 2015

Neil Wickers is to take over as chief executive of Carluccios's the 105-strong Italian restaurant group with sites across the UK.

The chain, which was founded and made famous by its founder, Italian chef Antonio Carluccio, continues to expand with sites now planned for the United States, starting in Washington.

It is now owned by Dubai-based investment group Landmark and has brought in Wickers to manage the company through its next growth phase. Wickers takes up his role on February 23. He joins from the Gondola Group where he was international managing director for PizzaExpress and has been responsible for the chain's overseas strategy and expansion.

He has helped see its international business grow from 36 sites to 75, achieving double-digit sales growth, along the way. He also helped re-launch PizzaExpress's grocery business.

The move sees Simon Kossoff, who has been chief executive since the group was founded 15 years, become executive chairman. Stephen Gee, who was one of the founders, is step down as non-executive chairman.

Kossoff said: "The appointment of a new CEO has been part of our growth plan for some time and strengthens the management team to allow it to significantly develop the business. Neil brings a wealth of international and brand development experience and as such is ideally placed to lead the team as the brand continues to expand internationally and in the UK."

Wickers added: "I am delighted to be joining the Carluccio's team. It is a brand I have long admired and I very much look forward to taking the business forward with Simon and the team. It is an exciting time for the brand with the opening of its first site in the States and further UK openings."

Carluccio's employs some 3000 staff and has 88 restaurants in the UK plus 17 overseas.