George Calombaris' business partner George Sykotis looking at camera

One of the three partners that own George Calombaris’ Made Establishment, George Sykiotis, has announced his departure from the business, which operates The Press Club, Gazi, two Hellenic Republic venues and the Jimmy Grants chain.

According the Sydney Morning Herald, Sykotis told staff he was relinquishing his place on the group’s board to focus on his family but would retain his financial stake. Calombaris, Sykotis and Radek Sali each own one third of the business. Sykotis has been in the group for 11 years and will remain in a consultative role.

Sykotis reportedly praised his business partner and friend Calombaris, calling him “one of the greatest people I have had the pleasure of sharing my life with”.

New Made Establishment chief Troy McDonagh praised Sykiotis, reports the Herald Sun.

“This idea of a split is a nonsense,” McDonagh said. “We are committed to growth and are a united front.”

The news comes after a difficult year for the hospitality empire, with an internal audit uncovering $2.6 million in underpayments in April. The group said 162 of its 430 team members had been affected across The Press Club, Gazi and Hellenic Republic, but not Jimmy Grant’s.

The Fair Work Ombudsman first raised concerns about the group’s payroll system more than 18 months ago. Fair Work is currently investigating the incident, with a report expected later this year. Made Establishment said in a statement it would work collaboratively with the agency throughout the process.

“Further investigation by us at this time should have uncovered the problem and allowed the business to act with more speed and focus to sort it out,” the group’s statement reads.

Then, in May the group faced legal action over a ‘mass food poisoning outbreak’ that occurred at Hellenic Republic Kew in 2014. At the time a Victorian Department of Health spokesperson said norovirus was the likely culprit for the outbreak, which affected 90 people.

Late last year Calombaris spoke to Hospitality magazine about the importance of building a team and mentoring the next generation of industry professionals.

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