The group said that after a review of its brands and their position in the market it had made the decision to lose the OPC brand in order to strengthen others. The decision will see OPC combined with John Barras into a new division called Locals Pubs, which will come under the responisbility of Spirit Leased managing director Chris Welham.
With the scrapping of OPC, Spirit will move from five divisions to four: Metropolitan comprisingTaylor Walker and Premium Pubs overseen by ex-Atmosphere chief executive David Crabtree; Fayre & Square and Flaming Grill led by Nick Young; Chef & Brewer led by Kate Wilton; and Local Pubs, comprising John Barras and the company’s Neighbourhood sites, led by Jackie Cupper. Locals will still be operated as managed pubs, but Cupper will report in to Welham due to the similarities of the Locals estate with many in the group’s leased division.
Tye told the Publican's Morning Advertiser sister title M&C Report: “OPC is so similar in its operation and characteristics that it is only an extension of Barras, which is a stronger brand. Reducing the portfolio by one is a sensible action, enabling greater focus and cost saving.”
He said that Spirit had made a lot of progress in the last couple of years and was proud of its achievements, but that it couldn’t “lose sight of the fact that our competitors have also improved in many areas and, as we have become more successful and better known, the expectations of all three of our stakeholders – team, guest and investor have also risen”.
He said: “Some areas are being realigned to accommodate sites and BDM geography but the majority of pubs will maintain their current line manager relationship – there is no planned reduction in BDM numbers. We need to ensure that our team structures are such that we identify and utilise the talent in the organisation – in other words everyone is enabled to deliver their maximum contribution.
"With this in mind, we have reviewed our overall structure and cost base to ensure we are as efficient and effective as possible, whilst this refinement provides some overhead cost savings it also supports our desire to retain a flatter structure with broader accountabilities.”
The changes are expected to take place by the end of next month and have already led to 17 redundancies among the company’s support centre roles based in Burton.