Signature Living managing director quits the business following ‘internal review’

David Hughes has been with the developer and hotel operator since 2014 and director of food operations Mike Mounfield has also quit his full-time role with Cunard chef Ernst Van Zyl departing too. Tony McDonough reports

There has been an internal review of the plans for the Cunard Building


Liverpool developer and hotel operator Signature Living has been hit by two high-profile departures – managing director David Hughes and director of food operations Mike Mounfield have both quit the business.

Mr Hughes was appointed as managing director of the Signature group in early 2014  and Mr Mounfield has recently overseen the appointment of former Fat Duck and award-winning chef Ernst Van Zyl at Signature’s new restaurant venture – Cunard House – in Liverpool’s Cunard Building.

Mr Van Zyl has also now departed the operation at the end of his initial three-month contract although Signature says Mr Mounfield will continue to work on the project on a contract basis.

In November of last year, Signature Living signed a 15-year lease for the entire ground floor of the Grade II-listed Cunard with plans to transform it into a fine dining restaurant, bar, wedding and events venue.

Following a three-month development period of pop up food offerings and events it has decided to make a number of changes in its menu offering and restaurant experience. 

A Signature spokesman said: “When Signature Living took over Cunard House at the Cunard Building in November it was always on the basis that we would stage a series of pop up restaurant experiences as part of our development plan to formulate our fine dining menu and offering.

Award-winning chef Ernst Van Zyl has also left the business


“The feedback from our customers during that period has been invaluable in helping us to shape what we will now launch as a new fine dining experience and menu in our February launch.

“Based on this feedback we didn’t feel the offering in its current format would expand into the Cunard. A review was undertaken and as a result various changes have been made both creatively and operationally. 

“When we took on the ground floor of the Cunard Building there were no kitchens installed and the pop up experimentation process was undertaken as part of our development programme.

“This was undertaken whilst planning permission was sought to install a new kitchen in the building and which we now hope will be completed by February, subject to the necessary planning permissions.”

The company says further announcements on the full launch of Cunard House will be made in due course.

Signature has enjoyed rapid growth in recent years. It has opened the 30 James Street and Shankly Hotels in Liverpool and has put forward plans for a Dixie Dean Hotel. It is also behind a number of other developments in the city and is involved in projects in Belfast and Cardiff.

Led by founder Lawrence Kenwright, the company is also one of two bidders looking to take over the management of Liverpool’s historic Croxteth Hall with the city council due to make a decision in the next few weeks.

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