SSP Group appoints Simon Smith to its Board of Directors as CEO designate

– UK, London – SSP Group (LON:SSPG), today announces that after more than five years with the Company, Kate Swann has decided to step down from her role as Group Chief Executive Officer on 31 May 2019. Kate will be succeeded by Simon Smith, currently Chief Executive Officer UK & Ireland. Simon has joined the PLC Board with immediate effect and will be appointed as CEO on 1 June 2019. Simon will work closely with Kate during the next six months to ensure a smooth transition.

Vagn Sorensen, SSPs Group’s Chairman, said: “It has been a pleasure to work with Kate, and on behalf of the Board I want to thank her for her enormous contribution to the Group. In the past five years, Kate has transformed SSP into an industry leading Food Travel Retail business, which has grown significantly around the world, and she has generated significant returns for our shareholders.

Succession planning is deeply embedded into the Group and following a thorough process, we are delighted with Simon’s appointment. Simon joined SSP Group in 2014 and has contributed significantly to the performance of the Group as CEO of UK & Ireland for the past four years. Since joining, Simon’s role has expanded and he has taken on wider global leadership responsibilities, most recently looking after the integration and development of our joint venture business in India, which has delivered excellent results. Simon’s strong leadership skills combined with his considerable experience in the food travel and retail space, as well as his track record at SSP, make him well placed to lead SSP to continued future success. Simon will work alongside our CFO Jonathan Davies who has provided excellent support to Kate and will continue to bring his wealth of experience to the Board.”

Kate Swann, Group Chief Executive Officer, said: “Today we’ve announced another record set of results, growing earnings a further 24% and proposing £150m return of cash to shareholders, so I am stepping down at a time when the business is clearly in great shape, with a strong senior management team and enormous future growth potential. It’s been a privilege to work with the many talented people that make up the SSP team and who have contributed to making it a world class business. I look forward to working closely with Simon in the next six months to ensure a smooth handover, and I am confident that he will lead the Group to even greater success in the future.”

About Simon Smith

Simon joined SSP as CEO of the UK and Ireland region in 2014. In addition to running the UK, his role has broadened internationally, and he has taken full responsibility for the integration and development of our JV in India, Travel Food Services, which has been our largest acquisition to date. Before joining SSP, Simon was at WH Smith for ten years, most recently as managing director of WHSmith’s travel division. During his tenure, the travel division expanded to more than 20 new international markets across Europe, India, the Middle East and Asia Pacific.

Simon has more than 20 years of experience in the retail and catering sectors, having begun his career at Fenwicks before moving to Allders Department Stores and then Safeway, where he worked in both commercial and marketing roles. He joined the travel division of WHSmith in 2004 and held the roles of trading director and chief operating officer before his promotion to managing director of the division.

Simon holds a first class honours degree from Leeds University Business School.

Simon Smith, UK Chief Executive Officer, said: “I am delighted to be appointed as SSP’s next Group CEO. SSP is a fantastic business with excellent on-going growth potential. We have a strong senior management team and thousands of dedicated colleagues around the world, and I am confident that together we will continue to build on the success achieved. I look forward to working closely with Kate over the next six months to ensure a smooth transition.”

About SSP

SSP is a leading operator of food and beverage concessions in travel locations, operating restaurants, bars, cafés, food courts, lounges and convenience stores in airports, train stations, motorway service stations and other leisure locations. With over 50 years of experience, today we have more than 37,000 employees, serving approximately 1.5 million customers every day. We have business at approximately 600 sites – mostly airports and railway stations – and operate more than 2,600 units in 33 countries around the world.

SSP operates an extensive portfolio of more than 500 international, national, and local brands. Among these are local heroes such as Brioche Dorée in Paris, LEON in London, and Hung’s Delicacies in Hong Kong. Our range also includes proprietary brands created for the travel sector including Upper Crust, Le Grand Comptoir and Ritazza, as well as international names such as M&S, Burger King, Starbucks, Jamie’s Deli and YO! Sushi. We also create stunning bespoke concepts such as Five Borough Food Hall in JFK, New York and Norgesglasset Bar in Oslo.

For more information :

- DisclaimerNews, data, and statements included in this release are intended exclusively for general information purposes. Talent4Boards does not guarantee that news is accurate or about the correct person and accepts neither liability for the consequences of the reader’s reliance, nor responsibility for the accuracy of the information. Nothing in this release should be considered for decisions about referred securities. Products and brand names may be trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective owners.