PRET St Martins Lane-039

Pret a Manger has made a string of appointments to its executive board, as owner JAB Holdings looks to kick on with its international growth strategy. 

Konrad Meyer has been appointed as Pret’s new chairman, succeeding Olivier Goudet who stepped down in November after six years.

The changes will also see Pret co-founder Sinclair Beecham return to the business he helped found more than 40 years ago as an advisor. He is joined by former Pret chairman Larry Billett, who has been appointed as a NED and will chair the audit committee. Billett was chairman from 2003 to 2011, prior to the sale of the business to Bridgepoint.

Beecham still retains a significant investment in Pret but will not formally rejoin the board. The pair will replace Patrice de Talhouët and Nathalie Roos, who will step down as non-executive directors.

Konrad Meyer

Konrad Meyer has been appointed as Pret’s new global chairman

JAB said the new appointments would “support” the next stage of Pret’s aggressive international expansion strategy. First laid out in 2021, Pret aims to double the size of its business by 2026, and has been growing a network of international franchisees in countries including the US, Spain and Italy.

Beecham and JAB funded the initial rollout plans through a joint £100m investment. It has seen the coffee chain’s footprint expand from four countries in 2018 to 18 currently. The business aims to add a further 150 new stores outside the UK by the end of the year.

Pret has also rejigged its UK strategy, having seen its commuter-focused business model upended by the growth of hybrid and home working since the Covid-19 pandemic. It is now targeting more suburban stores, and has rapidly expanded its Club Pret loyalty subscription scheme.

“The long-held values of Pret’s culture, combined with effective innovation, have been the wind in Pret’s sails since the beginning in 1986,” said Beecham and Billett in a joint statement. “We look forward to working with the board and Pret’s strong management team to reaffirm Pret’s mission to do what’s best for the customer, which was always the simple foundation beneath Pret’s growth.” 

After a career in private equity new chairman Meyer led JAB’s acquisition of Pret in 2018. A member of the board since then, he also served as interim chief financial officer in 2020, as the business grappled with the Covid-19 pandemic. His predecessor Goudet will remain on the Pret board.

“We are very proud of the transformation of Pret over the past few years, and we remain focused on the essence of Pret: happy teams and happy customers, and serving people with the Joy of Pret,” said Meyer.

“As a final step in leaving the pandemic behind, we are implementing plans to reduce debt. I would like to thank Olivier for his strategic vision and leadership throughout the turbulent pandemic, and for tripling the number of Pret’s international markets. Olivier is handing over Pret as it returns to its pre-pandemic strength, now with much enhanced international and digital footprints,

“I am also delighted to be welcoming Sinclair and Larry back to the business. With Larry’s return to the board, and Sinclair’s continued support, we are bringing together the brilliance of Pret’s past with the promise of Pret’s future, as we support Pano Christou and the Pret management team in delivering its winning recipe of delicious, freshly made food and organic coffee with fast, friendly service.”