After 15 years at the company, Rod McKie – chief executive of UK motorway service operator, Welcome Break – is stepping down, in favour of his new role as chief executive of restaurant group Sticks ‘n’ Sushi.
Claiming that “now is the right time to accept a new challenge,” McKie said Welcome Break is in an “excellent financial position,” and plans to depart next month (May) but retain a non-executive director from June.
He will start his new role as chief executive of Japanese specialist, Sticks ‘n’ Sushi, in July. The company currently operates seven restaurants across the UK, including five in London, Oxford and Cambridge.
McKie said: “I have enjoyed a wonderful 15 years at Welcome Break, but feel now is the right time to accept a new challenge.
“However, I will still be directly involved with Welcome Break as an adviser and non-executive director and look forward to contributing to its continued success.
“During the past 13 years as chief executive, I have been proud to lead a management team that, together with the strong support of our shareholders, has been responsible for the biggest overhaul of the company since founded in 1959.
“In particular, the business has been fully transformed into the first fully-branded motorway service operator, with over 14 brand partners.
“During this time, the business has enjoyed 10 years of consecutive top and bottom line growth.
“With the strong commitment of our shareholders, we have invested in excess of £150 million over the last 10 years in upgrading the business and offering our guests the best facilities on the motorway network.
“Among the innovations have been the introduction of Starbucks stores and pioneering the drive-thru phenomenon, which means Starbucks has become a mainstay part of the business.
“Waitrose supermarkets and standalone restaurants, such as PizzaExpress, have also joined the Welcome Break family of brands.
“The EV charging revolution has been embraced – first with Ecotricity (the world’s first electric highway) and latterly via partnership with Tesla.
“Welcome Break has also heavily invested in the Ramada hotel brand; innovative kiosk technology as well as pioneering healthy food on the motorways via Tossed (food company).
“The company is in an excellent financial position and well-placed to build on its success in the years to come, and I look forward to playing my part in Welcome Break’s future success.”