Des Gunewardena, Chairman & CEO
Des created D&D along with managing director David Loewi in September 2006 when they led the buyout of Conran Restaurants.
“My role is to make sure that D&D as a whole continues to perform well and do exciting things. It involves monitoring and managing the business to ensure that our customers, people and fellow shareholders are happy. I work with David and other people in various parts of D&D to come up with ideas to make our restaurants better. This year we’ve had a big focus on our campaign Love Wine, a series of initiatives to raise the profile of wine within D&D and with customers.
“I am responsible for strategy and thinking about what D&D should do next, so am constantly looking at exciting new projects both in the UK and overseas. For example, recently I’ve been spending time in Istanbul and Shanghai, cities in which I think D&D will open restaurants in the future.
“An aspect of my job that I enjoy is the huge variety of interesting people that I have to deal with. I also love launching new ventures – turning a derelict site and business plan into a successful restaurant full of happy customers is about as good as it gets.”
David Loewi, Managing Director
David Loewi has accumulated over twenty five years experience in the London hospitality industry, gained in both hotels and restaurants.
After completing a postgraduate in Swiss Hotel Training, David worked for three years with the Savoy Group at Claridge's. In 1984 he joined the Hyatt Group, where he rose to the position of Food and Beverage Director at the Hyatt Carlton Tower in London, also travelling with Hyatt to the Far East.
In 1995, David joined Conran Restaurants to launch Mezzo in Soho. Following the successful management of Mezzo, David held a number of senior positions within the group and in 1998 was appointed Managing Director of Conran Restaurants.
David left Conran in 2000 to set up the highly acclaimed Wolseley restaurant on Piccadilly and then returned as Managing Director of Conran Shops before being reinstated as Managing Director of Restaurants in early 2005.
“I am responsible for all the operations within the business, managing the day-to-day running of the company.
"I work closely with a team of directors and general managers to ensure we maintain exceptionally high standards of food and service in our restaurants.
“What do I enjoy about my job? Quite simply – FOOD. SERVICE. PEOPLE. "I also really enjoy being at the forefront of developing and growing the company.”
Ian Horrox, Human Resources Director
Ian joined Conran Restaurants 12 years ago from Hilton where he was head of HR for the UK.
“My role is pretty varied and includes:
“We have a well-developed chef apprentice scheme, a popular graduate manager programme (Elevate) and a recognised supervisory training scheme (Rise). Many senior people across the restaurant industry have worked with us and we pride ourselves on growing talent.
“I enjoy my job, the creative and entrepreneurial spirit we work within and the warmth, charm and passion of the people I work with.”
Amanda Dobinson, Marketing Director
Amanda joined D&D in February 2011, having previously spent 10 years at Ralph Lauren Europe, where she was retail marketing director.
“I am responsible for all marketing and communication across the D&D group of restaurants. This involves working across our very individual restaurants, each with their own identities and activity.
“I enjoy the variety of my job – there is never a dull moment. It’s great to be part of the fast-paced London restaurant scene, meeting new people and promoting some of the city’s most iconic restaurants.”
Max Renzland, Food Development Director
Max joined Conran Restaurants in 2005 with more than 30 years’ experience in hospitality, both as a chef and restaurateur. In 1999 he was awarded a Michelin star at Monsieur Max and chefs, such as Bruce Poole of Chez Bruce and Tom Kerridge of Hand & Flowers, passed through his kitchens.
“I oversee the development of new concepts. I also ensure that food provenance and sustainability issues are at the forefront of our commitment to deliver excellence and individuality throughout all of the D&D restaurants.
“I bring the same passion and attention to detail necessary in my previous work as a chef and restaurateur to my job here at D&D.”
Paul Jenkins, Purchasing Director
Paul joined the business as head of purchasing in January 2002, having previously held chef positions at several London restaurants including The 5th Floor at Harvey Nicols and Orrery.
“Over the seven years after joining, I was involved in the opening or refurbishment of 13 restaurants, while overseeing major changes to the way in which the company bought its food and wine.
“In November 2010 I was promoted from head of purchasing to the role of purchasing director and now oversee all purchases of food, drinks and operating services as well as heading up procurement on new projects and developments.
“I particularly enjoy the ongoing collaboration between our restaurants and suppliers to source the products our customers really enjoy, and developing the group's sustainability projects.”