People on the move: February 2022

By Joe Lutrario

- Last updated on GMT

People on the move: February 2022

Related tags Fridays Shepherd neame South Place Hotel Big Table Group Jonathon Swaine

This month's job moves include a new COO for Fridays and Jonathon Swaine returning to the pub world to oversee Shepherd Neame's pub business.


Fridays has appointed Julie McEwan as chief operating officer (COO) for its UK business. Starting early next month, McEwan will ensure that ‘quality, simplicity and relevancy’ is at the forefront of everything the American-inspired brand delivers. Since starting her career at Whitbread she has held several key roles in the sector, including operations manager at Premier Inn, leading Spirit Pub Company’s Flaming Grill brand and - more recently - operations director and later brand director at Las Iguanas. 

Shepherd Neame

Shepherd Neame has announced the appointment of Jonathon Swaine as managing director of its pubs business. Swaine has spent the last three years as managing director, retail at the Rank Group, but has spent the majority of his career in the pub industry. Initially at Bass (1997 to 2005) where he rose to national account manager (south) before joining Fuller, Smith and Turner plc for 14 years (2005 to 2019). At Fuller’s he had various roles, latterly as managing director, Fuller’s Inns from 2012 to 2019, which was the largest division of Fuller’s with c400 pubs. 

South Place Hotel 

Jake O’Riley has been named head chef of The City’s South Place Hotel. O’Riley will oversee the food offering at contemporary British restaurant Chop House, South Place’s cocktail venue 3 Bar, as well as all private and corporate events. Born in Malta, O’Riley moved to the UK as a teenager and cooked in a number of high-end kitchens in Kent and London including Thackeray’s, Chapter One and Perkin Reveller. More recently, O’Riley has held positions at Gordon Ramsay’s Bread Street Kitchen and Crown Plaza. 

Wild West Group

Drinks industry veteran Angus Winchester has taken up a new role as director of drinks and people at West Country-based bar operator Wild West Group. Winchester - who is well-known in the drinks world having previously been global ambassador for Tanqueray and VP of training for Barmetrix - will help the currently two-strong group open further sites. Wild West Group was founded by Louis Lewis-Smith with the opening of The Dark Horse in Bath 2015 after 10 years as a brand ambassador at William Grant & Sons. The company has since grown to include a second venue, in Bristol, called the Crying Wolf. Winchester will continue to run his Hong Kong-based bar consultancy Alconomics Asia. 

Big Table Group

Las Iguanas, Bella Italia and Café Rouge operator Big Table Group has appointed Debbie Moore as HR director. She bring with her 25 years’ experience in senior HR positions in retail and hospitality, having worked as head of HR at Arcadia, and HR Director for companies including the Post Office, Spirit Pub Company, The Restaurant Group, GLH Hotels, Prezzo and p- most recently Boparan Restaurant Group. “Debbie is a customer-focused HR Director with a wealth of experience across the sector, and a great ability to bring out the best in people. I’m delighted to welcome her to the Big Table Group and look forward to working with her again,” says Big Table Group chief executive officer Alan Morgan. 

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