French bakery and patisserie chain Paul UK has appointed Mark Hilton as chief executive officer.

He replaces Jean-Michel Orieux who stepped down as CEO last year, taking on the role of non-executive director with Paul International.

The business said Hilton’s new role would be multifaceted although his main focus would be to drive growth of the brand throughout the UK by enhancing product variety, relevance and value, to support its quality positioning and artisanal French values.

He also intended to develop the brand outside London by opening up franchise opportunities, as well as continuing to grow the number of London sites through concepts such as Paul Express.

He would also oversee new product development with a spotlight on healthier and vegan options, while building on Paul’s commitment to reducing food waste and increasing sustainability, said the firm.

“I am delighted to join Paul and am committed to taking the business forward with further openings, building on the work of Jean-Michel,” said Hilton.

“Paul is a well-respected brand and I am confident that, with my talented team, we will be able to develop the core proposition to ensure it remains engaging and relevant. We will be looking to expand within London and throughout the UK, inviting investors to join the Paul family as new franchisees.”

Hilton was previously CEO of Sphera Franchise Group, the holding company operating the franchises for KFC Romania, Italy and Moldova, as well as Pizza Hut and Taco Bell in Romania. He listed the business on the Bucharest stock exchange, doubling the number of stores and introducing new brands and new markets. Prior to that he was COO for Yum! Brands’ franchise business in Europe.

He has also previously worked with Paul both in a non-exec role, supporting the Paul International business, and as CEO of the group, operating the Paul franchise in Romania.

The business was one of many this week to reveal its Christmas menu plans.