Praise for pubs and brewery boss as he calls time after 18 years

Rooney Anand, chief executive of Greene King Picture: ADAM SMYTH

Rooney Anand, chief executive of Greene King Picture: ADAM SMYTH - Credit: Archant

One of the ‘big beasts’ of the UK pubs and brewery industry has been praised by Suffolk business leaders as he prepared to step down next year after 14 years at the helm.

Large mash tuns inside the Greene King brewery Picture: GREGG BROWN

Large mash tuns inside the Greene King brewery Picture: GREGG BROWN

Greene King chief executive Rooney Anand, who has been with the Bury St Edmunds based company for 18 years, presided over a period of remarkable growth at the firm - but has remained true to the company’s Suffolk roots.

During his tenure, the Suffolk brewery and pubs firm has grown from a 16,000 employee operation to a 39,000-strong company, turning it into a national player. It now includes more than 2,800 pubs, 1,700 of them managed, compared to 1988 pubs, 800 managed. Shareholder return since the credit crunch of 2008 has grown by nearly 200%.

Described as “the most successful and longest-serving business leaders our industry has seen” by Greene King chairman Philip Yea, he oversaw a period of sustained expansion, taking it from a £732m turnover company with earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) of £190m in 2005 to £2.2bn sales, with an EBITDA of £487m.

Suffolk Chamber of Commerce praised him for his commitment to its organisation, and to the county.

The Greene King brewery in Bury St Edmunds

The Greene King brewery in Bury St Edmunds - Credit: Archant

Chamber chief executive John Dugmore said: “As longstanding members of Suffolk Chamber of Commerce, Greene King under Rooney Anand’s leadership successfully managed to both expand as a national and international success story as well as maintaining the company’s commitment to their roots in our county.

“We wish Rooney best wishes for his next move and look forward to continuing to work with Greene King on a range of different projects and initiatives.”

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Mr Yea paid tribute to Mr Anand’s transformative role. “He will leave us better positioned for the future. Although he remains in his role for another six months, I should like to take this opportunity to thank him publicly on behalf of the board, colleagues and shareholders for all he has done for them, the company and the industry.”

The company employs around 1,000 staff at its Bury St Edmunds headquarters and brewery, and a total of 3,000 across pubs in East Anglia.

Greene King brewery was established in 1799 Picture: GREGG BROWN

Greene King brewery was established in 1799 Picture: GREGG BROWN - Credit: Archant

Mr Anand, who is set to hand over the reins to his as yet to be appointed successor at the end of April, said it had been a “great privilege” to lead the business, which was performing in line with expectations and ahead of the market.

“With a strong team and business culture firmly in place, the time is now right for me to hand over the baton. I look forward to supporting Phil, the board and the management team with the succession plan, and delivering our plans and results for the second half of the financial year,” he said.

Among his most notable achievements has been a series of acquisitions starting from Belhaven in Scotland in 2005, followed by Hardy’s and Hanson’s, Cloverleaf, and most recently, in its biggest ever deal, the £774m Spirit Pub Company.

Greene King said the process of appointing his successor is “well advanced”, and a further announcement would be made in the new calendar year.