The second component is opportunity. Easterbrook will have worked out that there is plenty to get his teeth into at Pizza Express and make a genuine difference. The reality is that the chain is getting hammered on its margins from vouchers and discounts, whereas rivals Nando’s and Wagamama are flying.
Consider how McDonald’s has gone from Formica tables and plastic uninviting interiors five years ago to now a place where there are vibrant colours, comfortable chairs and quality coffee that rivals that of Starbucks and Costa.
So successful has Easterbrook been at making a difference at the burger chain that he arguably realised his job was done and the opportunity afforded at Pizza Express was therefore much greater. The lack of opportunity at McDonald’s in the UK has certainly prompted one senior executive of a major food company to turn down the role of head of McDonald’s UK.
With many retail businesses on the ropes we are seeing a growing number of opportunity plays that present experienced individuals with great prospects of making a difference and in the process earning a name and a decent bit of financial gain for themselves.
Nigel Sapsed is director of executive search specialist Sapsed Stevens