At PizzaExpress, we are proud to be led by a team of leaders who have decades of experience in the consumer sector.

Allan Leighton, Chair

Allan Leighton is a highly respected businessman,and has held a series of roles including Chief Executive of ASDA, Non-ExecutiveChairman of Royal Mail and President of Loblaw in Canada. Currently, along with PizzaExpress, Allan is theChairman of Matalan Ltd, Office Ltd, Entertainment One Plc, Pace Plc, and Deputy Chairman of Pandora AS.

Paula MacKenzie, Chief Executive Officer

Paula MacKenzie joined as CEO in 2022 and has over 20 years’ experience in transforming food and beverage companies. Paula is known for her ability to put emotion into brands both locally and internationally. Previously, Paula was UK & Ireland MD at KFC. She led KFC through a transformation, accelerating revenue growth and helping to define food innovation, restaurant design and category-led chicken welfare. Paula has also worked in strategic roles for Diageo, GSK, innocent and Ernst & Young. Paula has an MA Economics from Cambridge and holds an ACA from ICAEW. Paula is also recognised for her spearheading efforts on diversity, equality & inclusion. Additionally, she is currently a Non-Executive Director for the FTSE 100 retailer B&M and an Advisory Board Member for Pennies, the UK's leading fintech charity.

Lawrence Harvey, Chief Operating Officer

Lawrence joined PizzaExpress in 2023 as Chief Operating Officer and is responsible for the brand’s operations in more than 360 restaurants across the UK and Ireland. Lawrence has a proven track record in driving team engagement, sales growth, service standards and customer satisfaction. He has held senior operations roles across a range of businesses with different models and complexities. His experience includes senior roles at Aldi, Barclays and Tesco, founding and creating JACK’S in 2018 – a new discount brand and food retail format. Additionally, Lawrence was Chair of Tesco’s Armed Forces Network, led a charity fundraising initiative which raised over £100,000 for Diabetes UK and is a best-selling author.

Kate Hetherington, Chief People Officer

Kate joined PizzaExpress in 2018 as People Director UK & Ireland, before taking on the role of Chief People Officer in 2021. Responsible for the brand’s people strategy and for making PizzaExpress the best place to work for its 10,000 strong team, who in 2023 voted PizzaExpress into The Sunday Times top 10 best employers in the very big organisations category. Previously, Kate was HR Director at Costa Coffee where she led the UK&I people strategy across a 17,000 headcount. She has broad HR experience including at Lloyds Bank, Nestle and Carphone Warehouse. Kate is part of the Women In Travel, Hospitality and Leisure (WiTHL) community and also sits on the UK Hospitality Apprenticeships Steering Board.

David Scowen, Group Financial Planning & Analysis Director

David Scowen joined PizzaExpress in May 2021 as Group FP&A and VCP Director. David is an experienced finance leader and has previously worked at SVP PMO and TJX Europe – as well as running his own consultancy.

Arslan Sharif, Chief Digital and Technology Officer

Arslan joined PizzaExpress in 2021 as Chief Digital and Technology Officer and is responsible for the brand’s digital transformation, trading, CRM, digital marketing, commercial partnerships, data analytics, and IT function. Arslan launched the brand’s first digital loyalty scheme, the PizzaExpress Club. Previously, he was Global Digital & Loyalty Director at Costa Coffee, leading a global digital transformation across UK, China, Middle East & Europe. He was responsible for significant sales through the ‘Costa Club’ loyalty programme and launched Costa’s first ‘mobile ordering Collect’ and ‘Costa Delivery’ channels. Arslan has been recognised through numerous awards including the Power 100 List of Top Marketers and was shortlisted for the 2022 Digital Masters Awards (DMA) for 'Excellence in Digital Transformation'.

Clive Bentley, Property Director

Clive joined PizzaExpress in 2021 as Property Director, and is responsible for the brand’s property strategy, including identifying new restaurant locations, asset management, restaurant maintenance, restaurant transformations and design. Prior to joining PizzaExpress, Clive worked as Property Director at Holland & Barrett and as the Global Property & Commercial Director at Costa Coffee. In his time at Costa, the estate grew from 73 stores to over 3,300 in over 30 countries. He has advised various companies on major estate restructuring and CVAs. He was previously a Board Director of the Whitbread Pension Fund and was Chairman of the Costa Foundation for nine years.

Chris Holmes, Chief Development Officer

Chris joined PizzaExpress in 2022 as the Channel and International Director. He is responsible for leading the international, delivery and retail businesses of the brand, and is at the forefront of driving PizzaExpress’ franchise led international expansion. Previously, Chris was the Managing Director at Ask Italian and Chief Development Officer at KFC UK & Ireland where he launched their loyalty platform and drove record numbers of new site openings. Additionally, Chris is an Advisory Board Member for Food for Education, and the Founder and CEO of SMASHco, an app created to inspire young people across the UK to access healthier, affordable food options.