Simon Smith will step down as CEO at the travel hub concession operator, which owns the Ritazza and Upper Crust brands, at the end of 2021
An SSP Group-operated Ritazza store | Photo credit: SSP Group
SSP Group has announced its CEO, Simon Smith, will step down at the end of 2021 to pursue a new opportunity at a Private Equity-backed business. According to a statement on the company’s website, Smith will continue his existing responsibilities to “support an orderly transition” until his departure.
“Throughout the past 16 months, Simon and our executive team have done an excellent job in steering SSP through the enormous challenges presented by the pandemic, acting very rapidly to protect the business and its cash flow, create a more flexible operating model and strengthen the balance sheet,” said SSP Group Chairman of the Board, Mike Clasper.
SSP Group has grappled with decimated footfall across its travel hub stores due to Covid-19 over the last 12 months. In June 2021, the company reported
a half-year loss, with revenues down 78.9% to £256.7m ($363.8) compared to the same period in 2020.
Despite ongoing disruption, SSP Group signalled a travel hub recovery was underway, and anticipated like-for-like sales would return to pre-pandemic levels by 2024.
SSP Group operates around 2,800 outlets at 300 railway stations and 180 airports in 36 countries. It runs its own café brands, such as Caffè Ritazza, Upper Crust and Camden Food Co. in addition to licensed brands such as Starbucks, Pret A Manger, and Burger King.