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Tue 11th Dec 2018 - CDG appoints Rooney Anand as chairman, Leon secures second US site
Casual Dining Group appoints Rooney Anand as chairman: Casual Dining Group (CDG), the operator of almost 300 mid-market restaurant brands including Las Iguanas, Cafe Rouge and Bella Italia, has appointed Rooney Anand as chairman. Anand will replace Martin Robinson, who steps down in April having been with the business since 2014. Robinson’s departure comes following the successful refinancing of CDG with KKR and Propel understands the decision was amicable between both parties. Anand has been selected for his wealth of experience gained at the highest levels in the hospitality sector and is “uniquely placed to identify growth opportunities while steering the company through the challenges ahead”. Anand has been chief executive of brewer and retailer Greene King for 14 years and is stepping down at the end of April. He is credited with turning Greene King from a small regional brewery and pub business into the UK’s leading pub company. Anand, who was named business leader of the year at the 2016 Lloyds Bank National Business Awards, was also recently appointed chairman of WorldSkills UK, the education and skills charity, a position he will take up in January. CDG chief executive Steve Richards said: “We are delighted to welcome Rooney to CDG as our new chairman. Rooney brings with him exceptional sector experience and everyone at CDG is looking forward to working with him. On behalf of the board, I’d like to thank Martin for his contribution to CDG over the past four years and we wish him well.” Anand added: “I am very much looking forward to supporting Steve and the management team, helping them to build on the solid foundations they’ve established at CDG as they continue to grow and develop the business in the fast moving and competitive casual dining market.” Matthieu Boulanger, member and global head of private credit at KKR, said: “We are very pleased to have Rooney join the CDG leadership team. He brings a wealth of experience and we believe he is uniquely placed to identify growth opportunities while steering the company through the challenges ahead.”

Leon secures second US site as it doubles up in Washington DC: Natural fast food brand Leon has secured its second US site. The company is doubling up in Washington DC after signing a lease to open a venue in New York Avenue. The restaurant is due to open in late spring. The space was originally constructed in 1874 for the George M Barker Company, a lumber, coal and wood distribution warehouse. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1984. Leon will occupy part of the 768,000 square foot building newly redeveloped by Douglas Development in a joint venture with Brookfield Properties. Leon managing director Glenn Edwards said: “Since our successful opening in L Street earlier this year, we have been searching for our next great location in DC and are thrilled to have found it in Mount Vernon Triangle. We’re excited to expose the beauty of the original building as a second major milestone in bringing the future of fast food to DC.” As with its London restaurants and L Street location, the new restaurant will be powered by sustainable energy, in this case 100% wind power. Leon has also proactively removed plastic straws and cutlery, with all packaging compostable or recyclable. Leon has grown to 61 restaurants since 2004, with locations in the UK, Oslo, Amsterdam, Utrecht and Gran Canaria and plans to grow in other cities across Europe and the US.

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