Spur hires Val Nichas as chief executive, Newsline

DURBAN – Restaurant chain Spur Corporation yesterday announced major changes to its executive team, appointing former Famous Brands boss Val Nichas as its new chief executive.

Spur said Nichas would take over in January to succeed the departing Pierre van Tonder, who led the group as chief executive for 24 years in a career that spanned nearly four decades with the company.

The multi-brand restaurant franchisor said Nichas comes into the position with a proven track record in the restaurant industry.

She was senior vice president of multi-national food company Rich Products Corporation and managing director of Tequila Advertising.

“Val is a highly experienced strategist who has extensive experience in the restaurant sector and was formerly managing executive of quick-service restaurant (QSR) Brands at Famous Brands, responsible for a portfolio of franchised brands with more than 600 restaurants across Steers, Fishaways and Giramundo,” the group said.

Nichas started her career in marketing and advertising and served as a marketing director of Edgars between 1994 and 1998.

Her career in Famous Brands started in 1999 as marketing director for Debonairs Pizza and later served as managing executive of Wimpy and Steers before her appointment as head of QSR Brands. “Val has run her own consulting business for the past eight years, specialising in business strategy and planning. Her consulting clients have included companies in the restaurant and food sectors,” the group said.

Nichas joins Spur after a challenging year following the Covid-19 outbreak which led to a decline in sales as a result of restaurant closures in an attempt to contain the pandemic.

Group sales plummeted by 21.7percent to R6billion for the year to end June, hurt by trading restrictions in all countries, particularly in the last four months of the trading period.

Spur’s South African sales fell by 22.3percent while sales from international operations declined by 16.7percent in rand terms.

Spur has a presence in 20 countries across the globe and a portfolio of 631 restaurants at the end of June.

Spur’s portfolio of restaurants include brands such as Spur Steak Ranches, Spur Grill & Go, Panarottis Pizza Pasta, John Dory’s Fish Grill Sushi, RocoMamas, The Hussar Grill, Casa Bella and Nikos Coalgrill Greek.

Spur also announced that its chief financial officer Phillip Matthee requested to stand down from his current position for personal reasons to take on a senior operational role within the group’s finance department.

It said Matthee would step down with effect from January 31 and assume the role of commercial accounting executive in the group.

The group said Matthee would be succeeded by Cristina Teixeira in February.

Spur also appointed new executive directors to be added into its board. The group appointed Kevin Robertson, who is promoted to group chief operations officer; Graeme Kiewitz, group human resources executive; and Sacha du Plessis, chief marketing officer, with effect from October 15.

Spur shares declined 0.21percent on the JSE yesterday to close at R14.14.