TRG hit with fresh investor attack following senior team appointments

By James McAllister

- Last updated on GMT

Wagamama, Chiquito and Frankie & Benny’s restaurant owner TRG hit with fresh investor attack following senior team shake-up

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The Restaurant Group (TRG) is facing fresh pressure from one of its main shareholders for promoting a finance chief with close links to its CEO, Andy Hornby.

Hong Kong-based hedge fund Oasis Management, which has built up a 14% stake in TRG, has hit out at the beleaguered casual dining operator following the announcement last week​ that Mark Chambers – currently CEO of the group’s Leisure & Concessions division – will take on the role of CFO designate from 1 July and formally take over as group CFO from 15 September.

Daniel Wosner, MD and head of Europe at Oasis, told The Telegraph​it was ‘concerning’ that Chambers had worked with Hornby for years prior to TRG, and had not held a chief financial officer role for a decade.

Chambers previously worked under Hornby at the gambling firm Coral, which later became Ladbrokes Coral and eventually GVC Group.

Hornby subsequently left GVC to join TRG in 2019​, with Chambers following suit in 2020.

Wosner said: “The company appointed, in a matter of weeks, a candidate who has worked with the CEO at… other companies, and not in a CFO role.

“Was this truly a robust and healthy process to find the best candidate for the company?”

Announcing his appointment last week, TRG said Chambers’s ‘combination of financial and operational experience makes him a strong candidate for the group’s next stage of evolution’.

Responding to Oasis’ comments, a spokesman for TRG told The Telegraph​: “The TRG board ran a thorough internal and external search process.”

This latest salvo comes amid an ongoing period of investor pressure for TRG, which owns the Wagamama, Chiquito and Frankie & Benny’s restaurant brands.

Over the past few months, activist investors including Oasis, Coltrane, and TMR Capital have called for change at the company​, and protested over the remuneration of directors​.

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