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M&B faces ‘investor backlash', Bristol hires first night czar, hospitality sector recruitment drive

By Stuart Stone

- 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

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Sky News has reported potential shareholder unrest at M&B while Carly Heath has been unveiled as Bristol’s first night-time economy adviser.

M&B faces ‘shareholder revolt’ over top pay, says Sky News

Birmingham-based pub operator Mitchells & Butlers is facing investor backlash over plans to boost the guaranteed pay awards of its top executives amid broader questions over corporate governance at the company, according to Sky News​.

The broadcaster reported that several major institutional investors are planning to oppose the operator of All Bar One’s remuneration policy because it plans to replace a performance-based share scheme with more fixed annual awards. 

In a report to clients, influential voting advisory firm Institutional Shareholder Services, said that M&B's explanation of the shift in policy “mainly discusses retention and a goal to maximise long-term shareholder value, but it does not explain how it will achieve the latter”.  

Sky News also reported that a number of directors, including chairman Bob Ivell, face “substantial votes” against their re-election at the pub operator's annual meeting later this month.

However, there is no prospect of any of the resolutions being voted down because more than half of the company's shares are controlled by a consortium of investors who include Joe Lewis, the owner of Tottenham Hotspur, and the horseracing tycoons John Magnier and JP McManus.

A spokesman for M&B insisted the company's remuneration committee “will continue to ensure any value delivered to our executive directors is fair and appropriate in the context of the performance of the business and experience of our stakeholders”.

As reported on 12 March, the FTSE 250 group recently raised £350.5m​ from shareholders after issuing 167m new shares at 210p per share, with shareholder groups Piedmont, Elpida Group and Smoothfield Holding consolidating their holdings under the Odyzean Group – which will hold approximately 55% of the company’s issued share capital.  


Hospitality workforce to hit 90% of pre-Covid size by December

Insight from CGA’s Business Leaders Survey reveals that three quarters of the hospitality sector’s foremost operators will be looking to recruit new staff members in 2021.

The survey, sponsored by hospitality software provider Fourth, revealed that just under half (44%) of pub, bar or restaurant operators be recruiting to the same, or a greater extent, than in previous years.  

What’s more, sector leaders forecast that their workforces will return to 79% of their previous scale by July 2021, and 90% by December 2021.

These latest figures come after previous analysis by Fourth revealed that the hospitality workforce shrunk by more than a quarter (28%) over the course of 2020.  

“There is cautious optimism returning to the industry, thanks to a clear timeline for reopening the industry and a new round of support measures announced in the Budget,” Sebastien Sepierre, managing director – EMEA at Fourth, said. 

“This shot in the arm will act as the starting gun for many businesses, as they seek to drive employment and establish systems ahead of reopening.  

“Make no mistake, this is still a precarious time for operators, with fluctuating consumer demand and fierce competition all contributing to an uncertain and fast-changing operating climate.”

Mission Mars appoints operations director 

As reported by The Morning Advertiser’s​ sister title MCA Insight​, former Gusto Italian operations director Tony Griffin has joined the operator of Albert’s Schloss and Schenke beerhall venues, Mission Mars, as director of operations.

Griffin has spent 24 years in the hospitality industry, primarily at Gusto before and after it was spun out from Living Ventures.

“After what has been a life changing year for most of us I am blessed to be thrust back into the forefront of the industry I love and to join the amazing team at Mission Mars,” he said on LinkedIn. “Cannot wait… let the fun begin and see you all soon in a city near you!”

Coaching Inn Group receives three-star accreditation from Best Companies

Lincolnshire-based specialist hotel and inn operator, The Coaching Inn Group – which expanded to 18 sites in August with the purchase of the Talbot Hotel in North Yorkshire – has received three-star accreditation from Best Companies, following on from two-star recognition in 2020.

According to the company’s website, the Best Companies to Work For Lists are recognised as the standard in workplace engagement, with three star accreditation awarded for the “highest standard of workplace engagement, representing organisations that truly excel”.

This comes after the Group rolled into The Sunday Times 100 Best Companies to Work For 2020 list in February when Oakman Inns, The New World Trading Company and Peach Pub Company also placed. 

The Boston-based specialist in renovating historic venues in prominent market town locations broke into The Sunday Times​ 100 Best Companies to Work For​’s ‘mid’ category – for companies employing at least 250 members of staff – making its bow at number 44.


Carly Heath named Bristol’s first night-time economy adviser

Carly Heath will begin her new role as Bristol’s first night-time economy adviser at the start of April, in a bid to develop a vision and roadmap to support Bristol’s cultural venues, bars, restaurants and clubs. 

Working with the mayor’s office and partners throughout the city, she will also be tasked with increasing the dialogue and collaboration in the city’s night-time economy and identifying the cultural, social and economic benefits the night-time industries can offer the city.  

Heath has more than two decades’ worth of experience in the sector, as founder of marketing agency Don’t Panic Bristol and as co-founder and trustee of community festival Brisfest. 

She has also been involved with thousands of the city’s music events and was part of a research team at University of West of England examining the effects of Covid-19 on cultural industries.  

“Promoting a vibrant nightlife is important for tourism, but also for the social fabric of the city as a space to congregate and share ideas,” Heath said. “Independent restaurants, venues, bars and clubs are the beating heart of Bristol’s culture. 

“I’m passionate about the businesses that operate from 6pm to 6am and I look forward to helping guide Bristol’s night-time economy as we move on from the challenges of lockdown.”


Zero Carbon Forum appoints Carbon Intelligence to build hospitality roadmap to net zero 

The Zero Carbon Forum has hired Carbon Intelligence’s team of strategists, data scientists and engineers to build a roadmap for the hospitality sector to reach net zero carbon emissions.

By identifying and addressing emission hotspots, the forum will announce a sector-wide net zero commitment this summer, ahead of the Government’s 2050 ambition. 

“We’re very pleased to bring Carbon Intelligence on-board,” Forum CEO and founder Mark Chapman said. “Our members represent diverse players across business types, sizes, and stages of their journey. 

“What we have in common is commitment to achieve net zero at pace, and Carbon Intelligence will help us create a plan to get there. The team brings very relevant experience, particularly in scope 3, which comprises the majority of our sector’s emissions.” 

Ahead of the release of the hospitality sector’s roadmap, UK Hospitality Chief Executive Kate Nicholls added: “We’ve already seen so many innovative projects across the sector, despite the dreadful challenges that have beset the sector this year. 

“It’s crucial to the survival and success of our industry that we build back better. Cutting carbon makes business sense. It’s what our customers want to see, and generally means lower operating costs as well.”

The Forum also announced that pub operator JD Wetherspoon had joined sector brands such as Adnams, BrewDog, Fuller's, Greene King, M&B, Marston's, Revolution Bars, Shepherd Neame, St Austell and Young's as members. 

“We are delighted to have joined the Zero CarbonForum,” JDW finance director Ben Whitley said. “Wetherspoon continues to work hard to reduce its impact on the environment and we are always looking to do more.  

“We look forward to working with other organisations within the hospitality sector to plan for a zero carbon future.

“In recent years Wetherspoon has worked closely with suppliers to reduce their carbon footprint, as well as its own, and this will be made easier by joining with other leading companies in our sector to work on a road plan for the future.”

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