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Tue 27th Aug 2019 - Robin Rowland to step down from YO! board to focus on portfolio of retail hospitality interests
Robin Rowland to step down from YO! board to focus on portfolio of retail hospitality interests: Global multi-brand, multi-channel Japanese food group YO! has announced Robin Rowland has decided to step down as a non-executive director of the board. The move marks the end of 20 years of service with YO! as chief executive, chairman and non-executive director, leaving Rowland to focus on developing his portfolio of retail hospitality interests. Rowland led YO! for 18 years until November 2017, taking it from an entrepreneur-led business with just three London restaurants, through three private equity transactions to an iconic restaurant brand with sites worldwide, serving more than ten million customers a year. Since stepping down as YO! chief executive, Rowland has continued to advise the business as a non- executive board member, alongside his role as an operating partner and chairman on three investments at private equity TriSpan. Rowland also sits on the boards of Eathos, a Gulf food and beverage restaurant platform; Caffe Nero and UKHospitality. In the Queen’s New Year Honours list for 2016, Rowland was awarded an OBE for his outstanding services to the restaurant and hospitality industry. YO! chief executive Richard Hodgson said: “Robin took sushi to the masses, growing YO!, from a fledgling business to one of the UK’s most loved and iconic restaurant chains. Though he will be sorely missed by everyone at YO!, we wish him the best with his future projects, all of which will benefit from his considerable experience and insight.” Rowland added: “The acquisition of SnowFox last month marks a further milestone in YO!’s pivot to a diversified global multi-brand and multi-format Japanese food group. As such, now’s the right time for me to step down from the board to make room for others who can guide YO! through to the next stage of development. I’m incredibly proud of everything we’ve done over the years at YO!, and the extraordinary people I’ve been lucky enough to work alongside, who make this business so very special.” Founded in 1997, YO! brought the concept of a Japanese “kaiten” sushi bar that delivered food via a conveyor belt to the UK. Today, YO! has almost 100 sites across the UK, US, Europe and the Middle East. In November 2017, the group acquired North America’s second-largest sushi brand, Bento Sushi, creating one of the largest sushi companies outside of Japan. In April 2018, YO! subsequently acquired Taiko Foods, the first company to produce sushi for a supermarket, and supplier to Waitrose. In July of this year, the group merged with SnowFox, the second-largest sushi kiosk company in the US. YO! was acquired by Mayfair Equity Partners in November 2015.

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