SCOTTISH business veteran Ken Hanna is stepping down as chairman of The Restaurant Group (TRG), owner of the Wagamama, Frankie & Benny’s, and Chiquito chains.

Mr Hanna, a former chairman of Aggreko and finance chief of United Distillers, Cadbury, and Avis Europe, is quitting the role because of personal reasons, TRG said. He has told the company that he will not seek re-election at its annual meeting in 2024 and will remain as chairman until his successor is appointed.

Mr Hanna was appointed to the role in October 2021, having previously left Dumbarton-based Aggreko following its £2.3 billion acquisition by private equity players TDR Capital and I Squared Capital earlier that year.

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Mr Hanna said: “It has been a privilege to work at TRG and I will be leaving the company in great shape with the business trading really strongly, outperforming the market and making good progress on its strategic options.

“I would like to thank the board and management team as well as our brilliant colleagues across the business for their great work and support during my time with TRG. I wish them and the group much continued success."

Mr Hanna’s decision to step down comes shortly after TRG increased its profit expectations for the current year in light of “strong trading” in the first eight months. The company also told the City on Wednesday that the medium-term outlook for costs is continuing to improve.

TRG returned to the black in the 26 weeks ended July 2, posting a pre-tax profit of £2.3m following a loss of £28.5m at the same stage last year. Total revenue climbed by 10% to £467.4m.

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Andy Hornby, chief executive of TRG, said: “On behalf of the board I would like to thank Ken for his outstanding contribution to the business. He has been an exceptional chairman and a hugely valued colleague during a critically important period for TRG as we have successfully recovered from the Covid pandemic and made good progress with our strategy. Ken's leadership of the board will be greatly missed by all his colleagues at TRG, and we wish him well.”

Mr Hanna’s departure comes after a number of investors called for his removal, along with Mr Hornby and remuneration director Zoe Morgan, following a rebellion over pay led by activist fund manager Oasis Management at TRG’s annual meeting in May.

Nearly 35% of investors voted against the remuneration policy for directors, which handed Mr Hornby a total pay package worth £792,000 for 2022, and there were significant votes against the reappointment of the bosses. It came after the company reported losses of £86.8m for the year.