Upper Crust owner SSP picks industry veteran Patrick Coveney as CEO

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- SSP Group Plc, owner of the Upper Crust chain of sandwich shops, on Thursday appointed Patrick Coveney as CEO at a time when its outlets at train stations and airports are lagging a broader food industry recovery from COVID-19.

An industry veteran, Coveney joins from Irish convenience food producer Greencore Group, where he was chief executive, and will take up his new role at SSP in March, replacing Simon Smith.

"Patrick is a strong and strategic leader, combining this with proven financial and operational experience in some of the most competitive categories in the food sector," said SSP Chairman Mike Clasper in a statement.

In September, SSP warned that it might take until 2024 to achieve pre-COVID revenue levels, on the back of a slower recovery in sales due to uncertainty in the pace of rebound.

Separately, Greencore said a search process to appoint a new chief will start immediately and that Non-Executive Chair Gary Kennedy would take a more active role pending the CEO appointment.

(Reporting by Priyanshi Mandhan in Bengaluru; Editing by Jan Harvey)

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