Meet those in charge of the UK's biggest pub companies

By Rebecca Weller

- Last updated on GMT

Into the boardroom: Who is in charge at the UK's biggest pub companies? (Credit:Getty/Klaus Vedfelt)
Into the boardroom: Who is in charge at the UK's biggest pub companies? (Credit:Getty/Klaus Vedfelt)

Related tags Pubco + head office Multi-site pub operators

The Morning Advertiser has taken a look behind the scenes and into the boardrooms of the UK’s six biggest pub companies.

Made up of Stonegate, Greene King, Marston’s, Star Pubs & Bars, Punch and Admiral Taverns, we get to know each of the businesses leaders and learn about their history.

Stonegate: David McDowall


Britain’s biggest pubco is managed by chief executive office David McDowall, who succeeded Simon Longbottom​ in November 2022.

McDowall brought a wealth of experience with him when he joined Stonegate, which has 4,500 pubs, having previously worked as president and chief operating officer at BrewDog.

The CEO, who has 15 years of board level experience in the sector and is also a board member of trade body UKHospitality, had been with BrewDog since 2015, when he was  appointed managing director of its bars.

McDowall also held the position of non-executive chair for competitive socialising brand NQ64 from December 2020 to January this year and worked as group operations director for the G1 Group for more than six years, from December 2008 to December 2014.

Last summer, McDowall spoke to The Morning Advertiser’s Editor Ed Bedington about his excitement for his new role with Stonegate and detailed his future plans for the business, including a focus on digital innovation and opportunities to expand the firm further. Read more here​.

Greene King: Nick Mackenzie

Greene King CEO Nick Mackenzie

Nick Mackenzie has been CEO of Greene King, which has more than 2,700 sites, since 2019. His predecessor, Rooney Anand, had previously held the position for 14 years.

Prior to joining Greene King, Mackenzie was boss of leisure company Merlin Entertainments with more than 20 years’ experience in a variety of roles within the industry.

Mackenzie is also a qualified charted surveyor and started his career working with Bass and then with Allied Domecq as its acquisitions direction before joining Burger King as its development director.

He joined The Tussauds Group in 2002, which was subsequently acquired by Merlin in 2007, where he remained to head up its property and development group.

In 2011, Mackenzie became managing director at Resort Theme Parks before moving across to lead the Midway business in 2015.

He also previously held the role of independent non-executive director for pub group Thwaites – which he relinquished before joining Greene King.

In December last year, Mackenzie was also elected as chairman of the British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA) replacing St Austell Brewery chief executive Kevin George.

Star Pubs & Bars: Lawson Mountstevens

Lawson Mountstevens

Lawson Mountstevens has been managing director of Star Pubs & Bars, which is part of Heineken UK and has a portfolio of around 2,400 pubs, since 2016.

Though the pubco boss has worked with Heineken UK for more than two decades, having first joined the global brewer as a regional sales director in January 2000 and progressing to a national sales director position in 2007.

In 2011, Mountstevens, who also has a degree in economic from the University of Manchester, was appointed as Heineken UK’s on trade managing director before the moving on to take the reigns at Star Pubs & Bars.

Prior to this, from 1992 to 2000, he worked at Scottish & Newcastle, which was acquired by Heineken in 2008 and subsequently became Star Pubs & Bars in 2012.

Marston’s: Justin Platt


The most recent appointment in our round up, Justin Platt has been at the helm of Marston’s since January this year.

His appointment was announced in November 2023, after his predecessor Andrew Andrea agreed with the pubco’s board he would step down from the chief executive office role with immediate effect.

Platt was appointed following an external process and brought more than 30 years’ experience with him to Marston’s.

He had spent the previous 12 years at Merlin Entertainments, most recently as chief strategy officer and, prior to that, in a variety of operational leadership roles. 

Platt also has a degree in economics from the University of Leeds.

Punch Pubs: Clive Chesser

Clive Chesser

Clive Chesser joined Punch Pubs as its chief executive officer in 2018, taking over the role from Duncan Garrood.

Prior to working for Punch, Chesser had been managing director of brewing and brand at Greene King for more than a year and managing director of its Pub Partners arm for the previous eight years.

Chesser, who has more than 30 years’ experience in the hospitality industry and a degree in politics from the University of Leicester, also held the role of divisional director for Enterprise Inns between 2007 and 2009.

Admiral Taverns: Chris Jowsey

Chris Jowsey

Closing our round-up we have Admiral Taverns boss Chris Jowsey, who has been heading things up at the pubco since 2019.

Jowsey, who has more than 20 years’ experience in the sector, took over the role as Admiral chief executive officer from Kevin Georgel and had previously worked as Heineken UK’s on-trade director since 2016.

Prior to this, the CEO had taken on various roles with Heineken, having joined the company in 2009, and previously worked as a regional managing director for Newcastle Breweries followed by a similar role at John Smiths.

Jowsey also has a Batchelors degree and MBA in philosophy, politics and economics from University College, Oxford.

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