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East Anglia Future 50

Greene King's new boss 'loves' Bury St Edmunds and its passion for brewery

PUBLISHED: 15:08 27 June 2019 | UPDATED: 15:08 27 June 2019

Nick Mackenzie, chief executive of Greene King  Picture: ADAM SMYTH

Nick Mackenzie, chief executive of Greene King Picture: ADAM SMYTH

Adam Smyth / Greene King

The new boss at pubs and brewery business Greene King said he had been "really impressed" with local people's passion for the brand after moving to its home in Bury St Edmunds.

Tourist attractions boss Nick Mackenzie officially took over the reins in May 2019 after previous chief executive Rooney Anand stood down after 14 years.

In the few weeks since he arrived he has been busy travelling the country visiting the company's various sites, but got time to enjoy time a traditional dray horse drive through Bury St Edmunds and Cambridge, seeing some of the historical sites.

MORE - New boss chosen for Greene King

"I love Bury St Edmunds," he said. "It's a beautiful town with a lot of heritage."

Since arriving, he had had a "great experience", spending time in the town's brewery and taste-testing some potential new beers.

"I have been really impressed by people's passion for Greene King and passion for the town," he said.

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Mr Mackenzie joined the business from Madame Tussauds owner Merlin Entertainments plc, where he was a member of executive committee.

He headed up the Midway portfolio of attractions, which comprises more than 100 businesses around the world including Madame Tussauds, the London Eye and SEA LIFE aquariums.

Starting out as a chartered surveyor, he joined Bass plc, and moved to Allied Domecq before joining Burger King UK as development director, then the Tussauds Group in 2002.

Although just a few weeks into his new job, he recognised that consumers were changing, and that the industry would have to adapt.

"I don't think it's about being revolutionary though," he said, stressing that it was important not to alienate existing customers.

But digital advances and a desire for healthier lifestyles were among the areas where changes were afoot in the culture, he acknowledged.

"We have to be careful we don't miss those trends," he said.

The company was picking up on these with some advances in ordering technology, while keeping the face-to-face contact which customers wanted, he said. On the lifestyle side, although each of the Greene King-owned brands take slightly different approaches, there was a move towards offering vegetarian and vegan options on menus in response to customer demand, he said.

MORE - Greene King adapts to changing customer habits with 'wellbeing' a key concern among millennials

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