Kevin Georgel, the highly-regarded operations director within Punch Taverns' leased arm, is to join Admiral Taverns as managing director.
M&C understands that Georgel is to replace Lynne D'Arcy, who has decided to step down from Admiral, which operates just over 2,000 pubs and is controlled by Lloyds Banking Group.
At Punch, Georgel was effectively number two in the leased and tenanted pub division, reporting into Roger Whiteside, managing director.
The appointment will see Georgel working with Andy Clifford, Admiral's property director. Their roles will be broadly split along the lines of operations and property, with Georgel overseeing the former.
It is not clear why D'Arcy, who was chief executive of Burtonwood prior to its sale to Marston's, had decided to leave the business.
The news was announced this morning internally at both Punch and Admiral Taverns.
It is thought that Lloyds has incentivised the management team at Admiral - led by executive chairman Jonathan Paveley - with a share of any equity upside in the group. It is thought that Georgel will also be incentivised in this way.
The bank - one of Britain's biggest - refinanced the Admiral business last year, cutting the amount of debt against the business from more than £900m to about £450m, in return for a controlling equity stake. They replaced the Landesberg and Rosenberg families as Admiral's biggest shareholder. Lloyds became the main lender to the business through its takeover of Halifax Bank of Scotland.
Georgel has been with Punch for seven years, and has served as operations director for past three years. Before that he worked at Coors.
Roger Whiteside, who heads Punch's leased and tenanted division, paid tribute to Georgel.
"During his seven years with Punch, Kevin played a key role in shaping the leased business and has recently engaged enthusiastically with our Pathway to Partnership change programme that is starting to make a real difference.
"I wish him all the best for his future career."
Trade consultant Phil Dixon said: "It's a good day for Admiral Taverns. It's sad for Punch but a good opportunity for Kevin to make his mark as a managing director.
"Kevin has been an integral part of the cultural revolution in Punch and I'm sure he will want to bring some of those principles to Admiral Taverns that licensees will be keen to embrace."