Euro Garages, current Forecourt Trader of the year and one of the UK’s largest operators of petrol forecourts and convenience stores,  has appointed James Thornton as finance director.

James, who originally qualified with accountancy firm PwC, was previously FD at Blackburn-based Cloverleaf Restaurants Ltd, which was acquired by listed pub group Greene King for £56m earlier this year. During his time at Cloverleaf, the group expanded to 12 freehold-owned sites with a further 10 in the development pipeline.

He joins Blackburn based Euro Garages, which is chaired by former Asda chief executive Andy Bond, to support its continued expansion.

In its latest trading update, turnover at the group rose 7% to £305m (year end July 2011) with profits (ebitda) up 26% to £12m.

The business, which has a portfolio of 70 freehold-owned sites and partnerships with brands such as Starbucks and Subway, announced in August that it had secured a new £110m funding agreement to accelerate its growth strategy.

Zuber Issa, chief executive of Euro Garages, said: “With a proven track record in supporting high-growth, multi-site businesses, James’ expertise is an ideal match for the business. His arrival comes at an exciting time, having recently raised significant new funding to accelerate our expansion through new acquisitions and continued investment in our existing estate.”

James Thornton said: “Euro Garages is an innovative player in a dynamic market which presents significant opportunities for growth. I’m excited about the current prospects for the group and look forward to supporting an excellent management team.”