CORRECTED-UPDATE 1-Upper Crust owner SSP Group CEO to step down at 2021-end

(Corrects to say “since 2019”, not “2018”, in paragraph 2)

July 14 (Reuters) - Snack food firm SSP Group said on Wednesday its chief executive officer, Simon Smith, plans to step down from his role at the end of 2021 to join a private equity-backed business.

The Upper Crust owner has started a search for the successor of Smith, who joined SSP as head of its UK and Ireland region in 2014 and has held the role of group CEO since 2019, the company said.

SSP Group, which operates food and beverage stores in travel locations, has started to see a recovery since travel resumed after months of lockdown, with sales in the most recent week at 42% of 2019 levels, compared with 30% at the beginning of June. (Reporting by Yadarisa Shabong in Bengaluru; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu)