George Gregan in million-dollar debt as hospitality empire crumbles

Sam Goodwin
·Sports Editor
·3-min read
George Gregan and wife Erica, pictured here at GG Espresso in 2014.
George Gregan and wife Erica enjoy a glass of red wine at GG Espresso in 2014. (Photo by Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images)

The hospitality group owned by Wallabies legend George Gregan and wife Erica has been placed in administration with more than $1 million worth of debts.

According to reports, GG Leasing has been forced to shut down two of its nine outlets after it entered administration this week.

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SV Partners has been appointed to run it.

The business was established in 1998 by Gregan and wife Erica, with more than 30 bars, restaurants and cafes across Australia at its peak.

Trading as GG Espresso, Eagle Lane Bistro, The George Bar and Bistro and Sydney Opera House Green Room, Gregan's venues reportedly brought in more than $10 million per year.

About 10 of 65 staff have reportedly now been laid off, but SV Partners director Ian Purchas said their goal was to continue trading.

George Gregan, pictured here after Australia's triumph at the 1999 Rugby World Cup.
George Gregan celebrates Australia's triumph at the 1999 Rugby World Cup. (Photo by Pool MERILLON/RAT/STEVENS/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images)

Mr Purchas put the situation down to the end of JobKeeper payments and other effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

He said one more store will be shut down at the end of this month, but hopes the remaining six venues will stay open.

“This was quite a large business. At one stage at its height it probably had in the vicinity of 30 bars, restaurants and cafes going at once,’’ Mr Purchas said.

“Over recent years and I think during COVID-19 it’s worked its way down to the nine stores that were operating when I was appointed on Friday.

“Since Friday I have closed two stores. I’m trying to come to some accommodating arrangement with the landlords of four other stores, and one of the stores comes off lease at the end of this month so it’s not being renewed.

“Out of the nine the company will definitely go forward with two of them and hopefully another four.’’

George and Erica Gregan reportedly split

Erica Gregan remains sole director of GG Leasing.

“My wife is very driven,” Gregan told the BBC in 2015.

“If you ever met her, she is very good at opening shops, and is really keen to do it well, and have a consistency in the level of our service.”

The 47-year-old Gregan is Australia's most-capped rugby player for the Wallabies, playing 139 Tests between 1994 and 2007.

He also holds the record for most caps as Wallabies captain and helped Australia win the Rugby World Cup in 1999.

He and Erica reportedly split in February last year after 22 years of marriage.

They married in Fji in 1998 and have three children together - son Max, 19, and daughters, Charlie, 18, and Jazz, 16.

George and Erica are also patrons of The George Gregan Foundation, which they founded after Max was diagnosed with epilepsy in 2005.

George Gregan and his daughter, pictured here at the 2019 Rugby Australia Awards.
George Gregan and his daughter at the 2019 Rugby Australia Awards. (Photo by Hanna Lassen/Getty Images)

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