Motorway Services operator Welcome Break will be getting a new CEO after Rod McKie announced he was stepping down from the role at the end of May.

He will take up a new position as worldwide chief executive officer of restaurant group Sticks ’n’ Sushi in July, while retaining a non-executive director role at Welcome Break with effect from June.

McKie said: “I have enjoyed a wonderful 15 years at Welcome Break, but feel now is the right time to accept a new challenge.

“However, I will still be directly involved with Welcome Break as an adviser and non-executive director and look forward to contributing to its continued success.

“During the past 13 years as chief executive I have been proud to lead a management team that together with the strong support of our shareholders, has been responsible for the biggest overhaul of the company since it was founded in 1959.

“In particular, the business has been fully transformed into the first fully-branded motorway service operator, with over 14 brand partners.

“With the strong commitment of our shareholders, we have invested in excess of £150m over the last 10 years in upgrading the business and offering our guests the best facilities on the motorway network.

“Among the innovations have been the introduction of Starbucks stores and pioneering the drive-thru phenomenon which means Starbucks has become a mainstay part of the business.

“Waitrose supermarkets and standalone restaurants such as Pizza Express have also joined the Welcome Break family of brands.

“The EV charging revolution has been embraced, first with Ecotricity which is the world’s first electric highway and latterly via partnership with Tesla.

“Welcome Break has also heavily invested in the Ramada hotel brand and innovative kiosk technology as well as pioneering healthy food on the motorways via Tossed.”

Welcome Break chairman, Darren Kyte added: “I would like to thank Rod for all his hard work and dedication over the years, which has contributed hugely to the success of Welcome Break over the past 15 years.

“On behalf of the Board and the shareholders, I wish Rod every success with his new endeavours, and we are very pleased that he will be staying with the business in a new non-executive role.

“As part of a management transition, Robbie Bell (currently CFO) has been appointed CEO designate with effect from June 2018.

“Further appointments to the senior team are also currently being finalised, to allow Robbie’s timely succession.

“We are very confident that the evolution of the senior management team will enable us to build on the considerable development of the business achieved in the last 10 years and bring continued success for the company.”