EAT has appointed Adrian Johnson, Costa Retails former managing director, as its new chief executive.

As reported in British Baker’s sister title M&C Report, Johnson, who has worked at Costa’s parent company Whitbread for 22 years, is expected to join the sandwich retailer on 1 June.  

It comes as EAT’s co-founder Niall MacArthur said he will step back from the day-to-day running of the business, but will remain on the board in a non-executive capacity.

Johnson said: “EAT is a fantastic brand and I am hugely excited about this opportunity and, through my experience at Costa, look forward to growing the business and in facilitating the founders’ vision. I have thoroughly enjoyed my many years working with Whitbread, but now is the time for me to move on and I am delighted to be joining the team at EAT.”

Additionally, Tony Solomons, previously a member of Waitrose’s management board and the supermarket business’ retail director between 2007 and 2012, will join EAT as a senior independent non-executive director.

MacArthur said: “I am extremely pleased that we have secured Adrian as the new chief executive alongside Tony as a non-executive. With their exemplary track records of delivering sustained growth and implementing ambitious expansion programmes, we have added two outstanding talents to the board. These appointments are a tremendous coup for the business and I am looking forward to working with both Adrian and Tony. We have an exciting period ahead as we continue with our next phase of growth and development.”

The two new appointments come at a time when EAT, the Lyceum Capital-backed firm, has set out plans to double the group’s current 116-strong estate over the next four years, creating 1,500 new jobs.