City Comment: Hamish Champ

By Hamish Champ

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags London brewer fuller Chelsea f.c. Michael turner Fuller

The Publican's City desk would like to pass on its congratulations to Messrs Turner, Emeny and Roberts over at west London brewer Fuller's regarding...

The Publican's City desk would like to pass on its congratulations to Messrs Turner, Emeny and Roberts over at west London brewer Fuller's regarding their recently announced promotions.

With the integration of George Gale & Co done and dusted - although the future of large swathes of Gales' old Horndean brewery site remains unclear - Michael Turner can now get on with the job of plotting Fuller's next move(s).

Meanwhile, empowering the heads of the retail and brands divisions of Fuller's with greater responsibility seems like a good idea as the group moves forward.

Yet there is another angle to all this. The decision to axe the role of chief executive might at first seem curious, but basically it solves a problem of Gordian Knot proportions in an Alexander-esque 'one fell-swoop' kind of way.

Many in the industry wondered who would assume the role of chief executive once the inevitable happened and Michael Turner moved upstairs. As Chelsea Football Club has found, keeping talented players happy is an exercise of plate-spinning proportions and one might assume that had either Emeny or Roberts gotten the top operational job the other would have surely left to find pastures new. And one might also argue that there would have been a queue of potential employers for either executive.

This re-alignment of managerial duties presumably keeps everybody happy, although it remains to be seen whether such harmony is still in place when next the management merry-go-round grinds into life.

  • Mitchells & Butlers' Tim Clarke sounded cock-a-hoop last week when I spoke to him about the Whitbread deal. The acquisition would help transform M&B into "the leading pub food player in the UK", he claimed, and ultimately boost the group's sales and profits by 30 per cent and 50 per cent respectively. I've long believed M&B would get these pubs, that it could barely afford not to, and that it would be prepared to pay a high price for them. The deal is done, the City is positive and the conversion of 200-plus of the pubs into various M&B brands, at an average site spend of £350,000, beckons. Which is all well and dandy, but where does it leave former/potential M&B suitor Robert Tchenguiz and his pub-owning ambitions?

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