UK chocolate maker and retailer Thorntons has appointed Jonathan Hart, MD of coffee-shop chain Caffè Nero, as chief executive.

Hart, who has been Caffè Nero MD for five years, will formally take the role at Thorntons in January.

In May, Thorntons revealed that CEO Mike Davies would be retiring after four years in the role, but that he would “stay in place” until a successor was found.

Thorntons chairman John von Spreckelsen said: “Jonathan brings a wealth of relevant experience to Thorntons from the retail and consumer goods sectors. He has an impressive track record in successfully running a number of multi-channel businesses, including concessions, and a proven track record in the development of retail format strategies, as well as new product development and launches.”

Hart’s career includes stints as group MD at electronics retailer Dixons and group MD at PC World International.