Epiris is pleased to announce that Murray Hennessy has been appointed Non-Executive Chairman of portfolio company TGI Fridays UK with immediate effect.
Mr Hennessy brings with him a wealth of Board-level experience and an impressive track record of delivering growth in consumer-facing industries. He was Chief Executive of Trainline.com, the UK’s leading online train ticket retailer, from 2008 to 2014 when he moved to Deputy Chairman, a role he continues to hold. Prior to this he was the CEO of Avis Europe plc from 2004 to 2008 and CEO of Buy.com UK, an online retailer of technology products, from 2000 to 2001. Buy.com was acquired by the John Lewis Partnership in 2001 and Mr Hennessy became head of the newly created John Lewis Direct. At John Lewis Direct, Mr Hennessy launched and grew Johnlewis.com into one of the UK’s leading online retailers winning numerous website awards in the process. He later became Commercial Director for John Lewis Department Stores.
Epiris acquired the UK franchise of TGI Fridays in December 2014, with Electra Private Equity PLC investing £99 million of equity in the deal. TGI Fridays UK is an authentic American casual restaurant chain with 67 UK restaurants in a range of locations, including city centres, shopping centres and leisure parks. It offers bold, distinctive American food as well as an innovative cocktail list, and provides a high-energy, fun environment with a wide demographic appeal. Key to the success of the customer experience is the company's focus on hiring and retaining enthusiastic front-of-house Team Members to offer a high level of service. This has been reflected through topping The Sunday Times "Best Big Companies to Work For" 2015 list. The company’s Chief Executive, Karen Forrester, also recently won “Restaurateur of the Year” at The Cateys Awards in recognition of her strong leadership.
Bill Priestley, Partner at Epiris, said:
“I am delighted that Murray has joined TGI Fridays UK as Non-Executive Chairman.
"Murray has had an extremely accomplished executive career with a strong record of innovation and growth in consumer businesses. We are delighted to have been able to persuade him to join TGI Fridays as we seek to develop and implement the company's ambitious growth plans."
Karen Forrester, Chief Executive of TGI Fridays UK, said:
“A key part of our current strategy is increasing engagement with new and existing guests. As part of this, we are aiming to make our digital offering as compelling as our in-restaurant experience. Murray’s understanding of digital and CRM strategies will be of much assistance to the Board as the company improves its data-driven decision making and takes advantage of new technologies.”
“I am very pleased to be welcoming him to the Friday’s family.”
Murray Hennessy, Non-Executive Chairman of TGI Fridays UK, said:
“TGI Fridays is a highly recognised and respected brand offering a unique restaurant experience in the growing casual dining sector. It is a great candidate for growth given its wide demographic appeal and sector-leading management team.
“I am looking forward to working with Karen and her team to help accelerate the strategy at this exciting time.”
Mr Hennessy’s appointment follows a number of high profile appointments made in Epiris portfolio companies. At the end of 2014 it was announced that former Whitbread plc CEO, Alan Parker had been appointed Non-executive Chairman of Park Resorts and that G4S plc and AMEC Foster Wheeler plc Chairman John Connolly had become Group Chairman of Elian.
Epiris refers to Epiris LLP acting on behalf of its client Electra Private Equity PLC.
For further information please contact:
Andrew Honnor and Matthieu Roussellier, Greenbrook Communications +44 (0)20 7952 2000
Andrew Kenny and Nicholas Board, Epiris +44 (0)20 7306 3932
Note to Editors:
About Epiris LLP
Epiris is an independent private equity fund manager with over 25 years' experience in the mid-market. During the last 25 years it has invested in excess of £4.5 billion in over 200 deals. As at 31 March 2015, the firm had funds under management of over £1.6 billion including capital available for new investment of nearly £400 million.
Epiris’ flexible investment strategy allows it to invest broadly across the private equity market with a particular focus on Buyouts and Co-investments, Secondaries and Debt. In addition to this, its long-term capital base means it is not constrained by expiring investment periods or exit pressure driven by fund raising cycles and is therefore able to realise investments only when returns are maximised for its investors.
The firm's major client is Electra Private Equity PLC (“Electra”), a private equity investment trust which has been listed on the London Stock Exchange since 1976. Electra’s long-term investment performance has been consistently superior to private equity and other benchmarks. Over the ten years to 31 March 2015, Electra has seen diluted NAV per share growth of 251%. This is over five times the NAV per share return of the Morningstar Private Equity Index (ex. Electra). It is also equivalent to a ten-year annualised return of 13%, at the upper end of Electra’s target range of 10-15% over the long-term.
For further information please visit www.electrapartners.com.
Epiris LLP is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.
About TGI Fridays
TGI Fridays offers authentic, contemporary, and full-flavoured American food, signature cocktails, and a lively, personalised experience. With a continually evolving menu overseen by award-winning executive chef Terry McDowell, it’s the perfect stop for free-poured, personalised cocktails served by Fridays Master Bartenders, a quick tasty bite, or a longer dinner with friends. Fridays opened its first UK restaurant in Birmingham in March 1986. There are currently 67 Fridays in the UK, and the Fridays team stands at 5,000 members strong.
For more information visit www.tgifridays.co.uk or www.fridays.com.
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Fridays Fast Facts:
• TGI Fridays was named ‘Best Big Company to Work for in the UK’ in this year’s Sunday Times Best Companies to Work for 2015
• Fridays introduced mistletoe drones to the UK for Christmas 2014 – see the video which went around the world here
• Fridays holds the Guinness World Record for the most people simultaneously cocktail flairing - check out the video here
• You’ll see a lot of cocktails on the menu of many bars internationally that were first created at Fridays, which has 500 cocktails on its menu - and our master bartenders know every single one!
• Fridays was the first national chain to achieve a rating of five in the National Food Hygiene Ratings Scheme in every restaurant
• Fridays has achieved a One Star Rating from the Sustainable Restaurant Association (SRA), underlining the company’s commitment to sustainability and the environment
• Fridays was awarded ‘Restaurateur of the Year’ at the annual Catey Awards 2015