CHAIRMAN – STRATEGY
David trained as both a cartographer and a teacher. He was the owner and managing director of the largest PizzaExpress franchisee organisation – the G&F Group – from 1973 to 1993. The flotation of PizzaExpress PLC took place in 1993. David was chief executive of PizzaExpress and then chairman until it was acquired by a private equity house in 2002. Following the sale of PizzaExpress in 2003, David founded and was chairman of The Clapham House Group PLC from 2003 to 2010, the owner of Gourmet Burger Kitchen and Bombay Bicycle Club. David’s investment portfolio in the sector includes shareholdings in a range of restaurants, including: Rocca di Papa, Bukowski, MEATliquor, Wild Caper and Chillbox.
In his spare time he grows grapes, figs, walnuts and peaches in the South of France.
Nabil came to the United Kingdom from Alexandria, Egypt in 1986 to study medicine. Whilst a student he started work in the kitchen of a PizzaExpress restaurant and rose through the ranks to become Regional Director for PizzaExpress London in 2001. From 2006 until 2011 Nabil was head of Group Purchasing at The Clapham House Group PLC and head of operations at Gourmet Burger Kitchen, its largest subsidiary company.
In his spare time he mentors two daughters – no wonder he is always working.
DIRECTOR – CORPORATE FINANCE
Nick, a barrister by profession, has spent the majority of his career in the corporate finance field. Nick worked as Head of Corporate Finance and M&A at Credit Lyonnais Securities from 1996 until 2000. Thereafter he was Head of Investment Banking in Europe for Robert W. Baird and subsequently Head of Corporate Finance at Arbuthnot Securities. Nick has spent the majority of his career providing strategic advice to companies in a range of sectors, including the restaurant sector. Nick is chairman of AIM quoted DP Poland PLC and an independent director of the fully listed Games Workshop Group PLC. He was a co-founder of The Clapham House Group PLC, which was the subject of a recommended takeover in 2010.
Nick has no spare time.
Nick qualified as a chartered accountant with Baker Tilly and specialised, pre and post qualification in corporate finance. From 2005 to 2013, Nick was the Group Finance Director and Company Secretary of The Clapham House Group PLC and worked on the acquisitions of several restaurant businesses including Gourmet Burger Kitchen, the disposals of several restaurant businesses and the recommended takeover of The Clapham House Group PLC in 2010. During this time GBK grew from 6 to over 60 restaurants in the UK and over 10 internationally. Nick also looked after the IT and online strategy of GBK, introducing numerous loyalty and social media systems into the business.
Nick has very little spare time but when he does, he travels and samples cuisines from around the world.
In November 2012, Martin exercised his option to take early retirement after a 38 year career with HSBC Bank plc. For the 10 years prior to his retirement, Martin held the position of Head of Corporate Banking for HSBC’s largest Corporate Banking team based in the West End of London. In addition to managing and leading a large team of senior managers, Martin had ultimate responsibility for managing the Bank’s relationship with a substantial number of corporate customers covering almost all industry sectors and included a substantial number of publicly quoted companies. As well as the general mid market corporate business, Martin was also responsible for the Bank’s Corporate Real Estate business for Southern England as well the Bank’s Corporate Hotel business for the whole of the UK. Martin has spent the majority of his career in Corporate Banking where he has gained considerable experience in leading strategic discussion with management teams/shareholders and stakeholders in exploring debt financing options and Capital Market solutions for supporting growth, whether organically or by way of acquisition or merger activities. Martin is also a Non Executive Director of Weston Group plc, Senior Advisor to MXC Capital Limited and a Consultant with The Erith Group. With the limited amount of spare time he has, Martin does enjoy travelling and whenever possible a round of golf.
Des qualified as a chartered accountant at Ernst & Young and was responsible for financial planning at property conglomerate Heron International during the mid-80’s. In 1991 he joined design entrepreneur Sir Terence Conran as his business partner and CEO. During their 15 year period together Terence and Des built Conran from a small design company into a global restaurant, retail, hotel and design company employing 2000 staff in the major cities of the world. In 2006 Des, as its Chairman and CEO led a buyout of Conran Restaurants (now renamed D&D London) a luxury restaurant group that owns and operates over 30 venues in London, Leeds, Paris, New York and Tokyo. D&D also owns South Place, an 80 bedroom luxury hotel in the City of London. Des is a non-executive director of business lobby group London First and has previously held non-executive directorships of publicly listed restaurant and design companies. For a number of years Des has been listed as one the Evening Standard’s Top 1000 most influential Londoners and in 2013 was shortlisted as EY’s London Entrepreneur of the year.