TGI Fridays loses chief executive and three directors over contract dispute
Four senior directors, including the chief executive, have suddenly quit restaurant and bar chain TGI Fridays UK just weeks before the start of the festive season.
Karen Forrester, who has been with the business for 12 years, will leave on December 13, followed by Stuart Greener, chief financial officer; Jacqui McManus, HR director and Cain Savazzi, operations director.
It is understood that Ms Forrester quit after TGI's private equity owners, Electra, attempted to make the boss sign a new five-year deal.
Her refusal and subsequent decision to quit led to the resignations of the three other directors.
She will be replaced by the former chief executive of Virgin Active gyms, Robert Cook. Prior to Virgin Active, he has worked at Hotel-du-Vin, Malmaison, De Vere and MacDonald Hotels.
TGI has one restaurant in Northern Ireland.
Ms Forrester said: "It has been an unbelievable honour and privilege to have led the magnificent TGI Fridays UK family over the last 12 years.
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"It was an incredibly hard decision to hang up my stripes, but I'm excited to be handing over to new CEO Robert Cook who will steer the company on the next stage of its epic journey.
"I'm leaving a business which is strong and healthy. We've opened a raft of new restaurants, welcomed thousands more Friday family members (employees) and served millions of satisfied guests. This year profits and sales have grown and led to some brilliant guest experience scores."
Ms Forrester is credited with turning around TGI's fortunes after years of decline, scrapping the tired image she described as "clown-like".