The coffee chain has previously had internal PR support, but this is the first in-house role at this level.
Hopley (pictured) will oversee Caffè Nero’s internal communication, while also establishing and leading the PR and reputation management functions. He will provide support across Caffè Nero’s international territories as it grows its global footprint.
Hopley joins from Pizza Hut Restaurants, where he ran communications during the turnaround programme that saw the brand sold to private equity and later to an MBO. He was previously internal comms manager at electrics retailer Comet and before that, worked for PR agency Kaizo.
Caffè Nero was founded in 1997 and currently operates 880 stores in nine countries. Since 2016 it has run a charitable foundation that has donated more than a quarter of a million pounds to causes in the UK and areas in which its coffee beans are grown.
Hopley told PRWeek the company has "no retained agencies at this stage". In 2014 it hired Kaizo for a social media brief.
Ford said: "I’m delighted he has joined our team to support the continued growth of our business, both here in the UK and abroad. I think he will do an excellent job helping our customers and the general public learn more about our family owned and managed Italian coffee company."
Hopley said: "It’s a really exciting time to be joining the Caffè Nero team. The business has had a remarkable track record of success, built on an extraordinary culture of genuine love and care for its customers and its high-quality coffee. It feels as if I am coming into a first-class outfit with high-quality values and I’m delighted to be supporting that."