Heineken UK is to merge its Scottish & Newcastle Pub Company (S&NPC) pub management division with its on-trade beer division in a move that is likely to mean 50 job losses.
It means the end of S&NPC as a stand-alone pub company. Industry sources suggest that the S&NPC estate is set to shrink by many hundreds of pubs from its current size of just under 2,000 pubs — the aAim estate of around 270 pubs is one part of the estate that is tipped to move to different management.
It is thought that S&NPC is set to shrink to around 1,300 pubs centred on the RBS estate of 800 or so pubs and the former Globe Pub Company, now called Blue Star, which has around 420 pubs.
The move means that S&NPC managing director Willie Crawshay and operations director Kim Francis will look for "new career opportunties".
The company argued that "better alignment with our independent free trade operation will unlock new opportunities for both channels and ensure a good exchange of retailing skills, brand opportunities and synergies for the integrated channels".
The current five S&NPC geographic regions will be reformed to align with Heineken UK's three on-trade areas.
Chris Moore, currently S&NPC property director, has been appointed to the new role of trading director, S&NPC.
Moore will report to Lawson Mountstevens as existing managing director on-trade. Crawshay and Francis will lead the transition to the new structure whilst "both considering new career opportunities".
Stefan Orlowski, managing director of Heineken UK, said: "The S&NPC team has done an excellent job in realising a new structure which helps us to share expertise by working alongside our independent channel. In broader terms, it is another major step forward in our plans to focus our UK business and to achieve our ambition for a high quality, well supported pub estate.
"The transition will have no impact on customers and it is very much business as usual whilst the consultation process is carried out. If confirmed, the new structure will take effect from 10 January 2011."