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Ex-banker lands £3m-a-year role at helm of firm that owns Wagamama | Business News



Andy Hornby, the former boss of bailed-out lender HBOS, will be paid up to £2.96m a year when he ends a decade-long absence from the stock market to become chief executive of The Restaurant Group.

Mr Hornby’s appointment, confirming a story first reported by Sky News, will also see him receive a golden hello worth £945,000 to compensate for lost bonuses at current employer, betting giant GVC.

The Restaurant Group owns brands including Wagamama, Frankie & Benny’s, Garfunkel’s and Chiquito.

Mr Hornby spent two-and-a-half years leading Halifax Bank of Scotland, which had grown into Britain’s biggest mortgage lender before it agreed to an emergency takeover by Lloyds TSB during the financial crisis in 2008.

Andy Hornby was chief executive of HBOS ahead of its near-collapse in 2008
Andy Hornby was chief executive of HBOS ahead of its near-collapse in 2008

Lloyds Banking Group, as the business then became, was swiftly bailed out with a £20bn capital injection from the government and Mr Hornby left as the deal was being consummated.

A review by regulators in 2015 concluded that the ultimate responsibility for the failure of HBOS “rests with the board and senior management”.

In January 2016, it was announced that the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority were to investigate certain former senior managers at the bank, who were not named. The investigation is continuing.

It was launched following an independent report by Andrew Green QC, which criticised the past failure of regulators to investigate a number of executives, including Mr Hornby.

The HBOS headquarters in Halifax
HBOS was taken over by Lloyds TSB in 2008

Earlier in his career, Mr Hornby had held senior roles at supermarket Asda – and nine months after leaving HBOS, he returned to retail as chief executive of then privately backed Alliance Boots, owner of Boots the Chemist.

He quit after less than two years, later resurfacing as boss of bookmaker Coral, and subsequently holding senior roles after its 2016 merger with Ladbrokes and 2018 takeover by GVC.

Mr Hornby has won plaudits internally for his work running the day-to-day operations of some of the UK’s biggest gambling businesses.

He is taking over at the helm of The Restaurant Group from current boss Andy McCue, who said in February that he was to step down due to “extenuating personal circumstances”.

Mr McCue’s departure comes after the group completed the acquisition of Wagamama in December, despite objections from a vocal minority of shareholders.

TRG has a market value of just over £700m, having seen its shares fall by more than a third during the past 12 months. Shares were up 1% on Mr Hornby’s appointment.

In March, the group reported better than expected full-year results but signalled that it would seek to exit poorly-performing outlets over the coming months.

It operates more than 650 sites across the UK.

Frankie & Benny's
Frankie & Benny’s is also part of The Restaurant Group

Mr Hornby will receive a basic salary worth £630,000 plus an annual bonus of up to £945,000 and long-term share awards worth £1.26m a year, together with a supplement in lieu of pension benefits worth up to £126,000.

He said he was “delighted” to be joining the company though he recognised the sector “faces considerable challenges”.

Chairman Debbie Hewitt said: “Andy’s extensive retail background, proven hands-on operational expertise, and experience of integrating businesses position him well to provide the leadership required to deliver the next phase of our strategy.”

The timing of Mr Hornby’s start date has yet to be confirmed.

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