Irish-based and London-listed Greencore said on Thursday that Mr Coveney would leave the group on March 30th following 14 years at its helm.
SSP subsequently announced that Mr Coveney would join the £2 billion (€2.4 billion) business as chief executive on March 31st.
The London-listed company this month announced a deal to run 24 restaurants and bars in Dublin Airport with partners including Irish players Teeling Whiskey and The Smokin’ Butcher.
Greencore pledged to begin the search for a replacement immediately. Mr Coveney will continue to lead its executive team for now.
Chairman Gary Kennedy will play a more active part in the business, taking on the role of executive chair from March 30th.
Chief commercial officer Kevin Moore will become deputy chief executive immediately.
Mr Coveney, a brother of Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney, joined Greencore as chief financial officer in 2006 before taking the top job two years later.
He played a key role in expanding the former State-owned sugar manufacturer into a convenience foods business with sales of €1.5 billion and a lead position in the UK.
Before joining Greencore, Mr Coveney worked for nine years at consultancy McKinsey & Company.
Greencore supplies pre-packed sandwiches to supermarkets that are sold under the retailers’ own brands.
Other products include quiches, puddings, sauces, prepared meals and cooking oils.
Mr Kennedy thanked the outgoing chief executive for transforming the business into the UK’s leading convenience foods producer.
He said it would update the markets on progress in its hunt for a successor in due course.
London-listed SSP Group is a food service business that runs restaurants, bars and other outlets mainly in travel locations such as airports. Based on its share price it is worth around £2 billion.
Mr Coveney is succeeding outgoing chief executive, Simon Smith, who confirmed last July that he would leave SSP next month.
SSP chairman, Mike Clasper, said Mr Coveney was joining the business as it emerged from the pandemic with considerable momentum.
“Patrick is a strong and strategic leader, combining this with proven financial and operational experience in some of the most competitive categories in the food sector,” he added.
Mr Coveney said he looked forward to working with the group.