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Yo Sushi appoints new chair

John Walden joins the group after the departure of Eric Nicoli

Yo Sushi has announced that John Walden has joined the group as its new chairman.

It comes as present chairman Eric Nicoli is stepping down to pursue other interests, having joined the group in 2015 following the acquisition of the company by Mayfair Private Equity. 

According to the group, he helped lead the transformation into a global multi brand, multi-channel food group, with 75% of revenues now coming from North America. 

Walden brings with him over 20 years of experience in multi-channel, consumer-driven retailing, and has “extensive” board experience of multi-channel consumer focused businesses both in the UK and US.

He previously advised consumer facing businesses and private equity investors through Inversion LLC, a US-based retail focused management and strategy consultancy he founded 13 years ago.

 Other previous roles include chairman at Naked Wines, where he oversaw the sale of Majestic Wines and its enhanced focus on the US market, and executive chairman at Holland & Barratt following the acquisition by LetterOne. 

From 2012 to 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. 

Richard Hodgson, chief executive officer of the 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.”  

He added: “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 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.” 

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