Mr Tugendhat has no background in the childcare industry and arrives as an expert in insurance and business. His previous role was chief executive at city insurance firm Towergate Direct and he previously worked at Bupa for six years.
He takes on a new role of managing director, international, where he will cover not just UK nurseries but all those outside the US and Canada. Bright Horizons currently operates 30 settings in the Netherlands, five in Ireland and two in Bangalore, India.
Previous MD Carole Edmond, who was in charge of just UK operations, left almost a year ago in May 2015 after holding the post for six years and overseeing the acquisitions of Casterbridge Nurseries in 2012 and kidsunlimited in 2013.
A spokesman for the company said that the position's international focus was new and designed to help grow the business abroad.
The US company was founded in 1986 and operates more than 600 settings there, specialising in employer-sponsored childcare.
Mr Tugendhat said, ‘Teaching and family are two passions dear to my heart, and I am excited to return to the care sector and to join the Bright Horizons family. I am looking forward to visiting and meeting with the teams in our nurseries and offices in the coming weeks and to learning and growing along with the Bright Horizons global team.’
Mr Tugendhat takes over from Stephen Kramer, Bright Horizons’ President, who is based in the US and stepped into the interim MD role after nine years at the company.
Bright Horizons now owns 210 nurseries in the UK and Ireland, totalling over 17,000 places – with 91 per cent of them rated good or outstanding. The chain has made two acquisitions since the start of the year.