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Board changes at Camden Town and Greene King, ‘tsunami of job losses’ imminent?

By Stuart Stone contact

- Last updated on GMT

People moves: the latest news on people moves, jobs and training from across the pub sector
People moves: the latest news on people moves, jobs and training from across the pub sector

Related tags: Greene king, Camden town brewery, Ab inbev, Revolution, Finance, Pubco + head office

While stakeholders in the late-night sector warn of a looming ‘tsunami of job losses’, Greene King, Camden Town Brewery, St Austell Brewery and Revolution Bars Group announced senior shake-ups.

Camden Town CEO and founder to step back amid AB InBev integration

Camden Town Brewery’s CEO and founder will both step back from their current roles as owner AB InBev plots a restructure at the craft brewer to fully integrate it into the wider group.

Founder Jasper Cuppaidge, who sold the London-based brewery to AB InBev for £85m in December 2015, will return to the business into a consultant role while CEO Adam Keary – who joined the business in 2017 – will leave in March.

ABInBev is currently engaged in a consultation process with Camden Town staff about the changes, with the final number of jobs to be axed still to be confirmed. 

According to reports in The Morning Advertiser's ​sister title The Grocer​, a number of roles across the executive, finance and sales teams at Camden Town are being evaluated as part of the reshuffle as ABInBev looks to streamline and centralise the business.

“Starting in January 2021, Camden Town Brewery will become fully integrated with the UK ABInBev business, Budweiser Brewing Group,” a letter to customers written by CEO Adam Keary explained.

“We will unify the two businesses, bringing the best of both and ultimately creating one bigger and better partner for you and all of our other customers." 

A spokeswoman for Budweiser Brewing Group added that the group would attempt to minimise the number of redundancies during the integration. 

“Our people continue to be our most important asset,” she said. “We anticipate retaining most of the talent from Camden, and we are aiming to reduce any potential total impact to a minimum by reviewing alternative opportunities for any employees within the company.”

Camden

Greene King appoints Local Pubs MD

Suffolk-based brewer and pub operator Greene King has appointed Clair Preston-Beer as the new managing director of its more than 600-strong Local Pubs division.

The new hire marks the final executive board appointment since Greene King announced a restructure earlier in the year, with Maria Sebastian also joining as chief marketing officer in August. 

Most recently, Preston-Beer was managing director of Costa in the Middle East and Asia, responsible for driving expansion and growth across the regions, and was previously the company’s chief operating officer for the UK, where she was responsible for 1,100 venues.

Following her appointment to Greene King’s executive board, Preston-Beer will take over the Local Pubs division from Dan Robinson, who has held the managing director role on an interim basis since it was created earlier this year. 

Robinson will remain with Greene King, serving on its property team in January once Preston-Beer has completed a handover and induction. 

“As we look ahead to 2021, I am confident that the newly formed Local Pubs division will be well placed to take advantage of what we all hope will be a recovery for great British pubs, which play such an important role at the heart of the communities they serve so well,” Greene King CEO Nick Mackenzie said.   

“I would like to take this opportunity to thank Dan Robinson for holding the reins so well over the last six months and for his contribution to the wider executive board over the last year.”

Greene King

St Austell Brewery adds Andrew Turner to board of directors

Cornish brewer and pub operator St Austell Brewery has appointed current managing director of beer and brands, Andrew Turner, to its board of directors.

Turner joined the operator of around 170 pubs across the south west in March of this year, leaving his role as trading director at Heineken UK to lead St Austell Brewery's beer and wholesale drinks business.

“I’m delighted to welcome Andrew to the board," chairman Will Michelmore said of the appointment. 

"With almost 20 years of experience and success at Heineken, he has brought valuable industry knowledge to the business since he joined in March, and will complement the diverse experience of our existing board members.

“In the face of significant challenges, Andrew has shown great leadership this year while steering our beer and brands business into its next exciting chapter," he continued. 

"His appointment to the board will stand us in good stead for the future as we look to consolidate our position as the South West’s most successful beer and pub company.”

St Austell recently confirmed that it is looking to reduce the number of staff on its books by up to 10%​, blaming coronavirus for a significant drop in revenue.

Revolution reshuffles board amid CVA approval 

Revolution Bars Group has announced board changes following the completion of a CVA process with chief financial officer Mike Foster indicating he will not seek re-election at the group’s AGM on 22 December and will step down from the board at the end of that meeting. 

What’s more, the board revealed it is intended Danielle Davies will be appointed as chief financial officer immediately following the AGM. 

Thew news comes after more than 88% of all creditors voted in favour of a CVA proposal with more than 75% of unconnected creditors following suit. 

In accordance with the relevant statutory provisions, there is a 28-day period following the filing of the report, in which a creditor may apply to court to challenge the CVA. 

Revolution Bars Limited includes 51 Revolution branded leasehold bars, six of which will close imminently following the CVA’s approval, with reduced rental terms agreed in respect of seven further sites which are now subject to turnover-based rents with minimum rental thresholds for the duration of the two-year CVA period. 

Read more here​.

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Pub sector shares rise following Moderna vaccine update 

Share prices for a number of listed pub companies rose on Monday 16 November following reports of the effectiveness of the US company Moderna’s Covid-19 vaccine.  

As reported by the BBC, early data suggests that the vaccine – which was part funded by a $1m (£747,460) donation from American singer and songwriter Dolly Parton – is nearly 95% effective.

Trading shares in Marston’s, Mitchells & Butlers, JD Wetherspoon and Young’s, were found to have climbed by 9%, 10%, 8% and 7% respectively within hours of news of Moderna’s vaccine breaking.

This news comes after major pubco share prices rocketed following the announcement of a coronavirus vaccine by pharmaceutical companies Pfizer and BioNTech. 

Some 40m doses of the vaccine have been ordered by the UK Government, with around 10m of them expected to be ready for use by Christmas, it has been reported.

The announcement of the jab sparked London’s stock market into action and, at the time of reporting, the FTSE 100 was on track to have its best day since March this year.

At around midday on 9 November, Mitchells & Butlers PLC saw its share price rocket by over 26%​, for example.

JD Wetherspoon PLC saw similar figures, with its price jumping by over 21% at around the same time.

Shares
Whitbread could halve job cuts 

The operator behind Brewers Fayre, Beefeater and Premier Inn may significantly reduce redundancy plans following the extension of the furlough scheme and vaccine breakthrough.

As previously reported by The Morning Advertiser (MA)​​, Whitbread announced that as many as 6,000 members of staff​​ could face redundancy following a collapse in sales amid the coronavirus crisis.

The business currently employs in the region of 35,000 workers across the UK meaning more than one-in-six were initially forecast lose their jobs alongside 15% to 20% of jobs at its head office – a further 150 positions. 

However, according to reports in The Times​​, Whitbread is now expected to tell staff that a “significant number” of the job cuts will no longer be necessary.

Explaining the revised number of redundancies is not confirmed, a spokesman for the company told The Times​​: “We are still working through the detail and potential implications.” 

On top of running 800 Premier Inns across the UK – boasting 76,000 rooms – Whitbread also operates more than 400 venues under its Brewers Fayre, Beefeater, Cookhouse & Pub and Table Table brands. 

The former brewer, which in 1968 reached a deal to brew Heineken under licence, offloaded its breweries and pubs in 2001 to focus on its estate of hotels and restaurants. 

The decision to rein in its redundancy plans is believed to have stemmed from the extension of the furlough scheme, hopes that a vaccine could soon become available and staff switching to reduced hours or accepting redeployment.

Read more here

Jobs

Support package needed to prevent ‘tsunami of job losses’

A nationwide coalition representing more than 100 nightclubs and thousands of staff have written to prime minister Boris Johnson requesting a financial package to prevent a “devastating tsunami of job losses” across the late-night sector.

The #SaveNightclubs campaign highlights their venues have been closed for eight months due to the pandemic and have no confirmed reopening date while bars and pubs have been allowed to resume trading.

The campaign is urging the Government to “act now or permanently lose the country’s nightclub industry and the enormous economic contribution it makes to the UK”. 

The letter also stated these venues are likely to be closed for an entire year, evidenced by the second lockdown and the extension of the furlough scheme until March. What’s more, it highlighted that more than 70% of people working in nightclubs are self-employed and therefore ineligible furlough pay

It also asked the Government to introduce protection from eviction for nightclubs alongside extend business rates relief to April 2022.

“Unlike hospitality and gyms, which were able to trade over the summer months, we have not been able to open at all, resulting in zero revenue since March,” it read. 

“Venues are facing mounting rent bills, ongoing running costs and the prospect of business rates in April 2021. 

“We urge the Government to prevent a devastating tsunami of job losses, a wipe-out of future economic contributions and further ruin to towns and cities across the UK, which are already on their knees.” 

Club

Filling hospitality’s post-Brexit ‘talent hole’

It’s widely forecast that Britain’s departure from the European Union will trigger a dearth in workers from the continent on which the hospitality sector traditionally relies.  

There are now fewer than seven weeks until the Brexit transition period ends and Britain will be forced to either implement a trade deal with the EU or “no deal” World Trade Organisation terms on 1 January 2021.

However, outside of potential pricing fluctuations, the British Institute of Innkeeping’s CEO Steve Alton tells The Morning Advertiser (MA​) that a key focus for the pub sector will be on employment as the industry slowly rebuilds footfall levels and consequently a demand for staff. 

“In the new year, as pubs start to trade under more normal conditions and have a need to increase their teams, for many roles they will undoubtedly need to employ from within the UK,” he says. 

“Finding and retaining great people will be a challenge, as will upskilling those staff members who are potentially new to the pub trade, providing them with comprehensive training and development.” 

Read more here​.

joBS

Former pubco pair unveiled as Hofmeister non-executive directors

Two pub industry veterans have invested in revived beer brand Hofmeister, which they believe is in line to be one of the UK’s most popular pours in the next five years.

Kim Francis and Euan Venters have not only poured funds into Hofmeister but have been unveiled as non-executive directors. 

Francis most recently served as managing director of Ei Group and in charge of running 1,900 pubs in London and the south east while Venters was managing director of Greene King’s brewing and brands until 2013. 

Francis even has previous experience with Hofmeister – at one time the fourth biggest beer brand in the UK – having listed and sold it during his days at Courage.  

Relaunched in 2017 by drinks entrepreneurs Spencer Chambers and Richard Longhurst after acquiring the brand from Heineken in 2004, Hofmeister has been reinvented as a premium 5% Helles lager made in keeping with the 1516 German Reinheitsgebot beer purity brewing law which dictates that it can only use three local ingredients – mineral water, barley and hops.

What’s more, next month Hofmeister will be launching Hofmeister Weisse, a traditional Bavarian wheat beer at 5.1% ABV, and Hofmeister Ultra Low, a 0.5% ABV Bavarian Helles lager.

Read more here

Hofmeister-2

The Drinks Trust creates peer-to-peer networking and mentoring platform

Drinks industry community organisation The Drinks Trust has launched new online member platform, The Drinks Community, in a bid to create a space for people to share knowledge.

The ambition is that the new community – which will go live in January – will revolve around upskilling, careers and vocational space for drinks people and help members grow and develop in their careers by offering access to both inspirational and practical advice.

As part of the programme, a Founding Committee has been established to offer expertise, insight and advice to ensure that The Drinks Community content is timely, relevant and supports all its members in moving forward. 

“The Drinks Community will be the voice of drinks people,” chief executive, Ross Carter said. “Together, we will create, curate and share the most relevant and exciting vocational content that will help grow your career and connect you with more people, and more opportunity, from across our vibrant industry. 

“We will offer the services and opportunities that will help our people become more skilled, ultimately making our sector stronger, smarter, more connected, more resilient and more diverse. 

“First and foremost, The Drinks Community will exist to deliver on a genuine need within the drinks industry, particularly now, at a time when community will be central to the recovery of the drinks and hospitality sectors.”

The Drinks Trust will also be launching The Drinks Community Mentor Programme and calling for applicants in the coming weeks.

Drink Trust

Former Fuller’s boss to advise Bohem Brewery

Former Fuller’s Inns managing director Jonathon Swaine has been appointed as an adviser at north London-based Bohem Brewery. 

Currently managing director, retail, of Rank Group, Swaine will be tasked with further expanding Bohem’s distribution. 

“We’re delighted Jonathon is working with us to support the brewery’s growth,”Bohem Brewery co-founder Petr Skocek said. 

“This is a challenging time for the whole sector, but Jonathon’s willingness to come on board is testament to the fact that we have a very distinct proposition in the market.

“Our fresh, authentic lager offers a point of difference, and having access to the advice and contacts of someone of Jonathon’s calibre is a huge benefit as we focus on continuing our carefully managed strategy for growth.” 

Discussing his new role, Swaine added: “I’m delighted to support Petr and the team at Bohem Brewery, having long been an admirer of its high-quality, and differentiated lager.  

“The business has an exciting future and I am honoured to be asked to play my part in its growth.” 

Related topics: Rebuilding the Pub Sector

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