Shake up at Greene King pubs business

EAST Anglia-based pub and brewing company Greene King has announced a major shake-up of its pubs operation. The Bury St Edmunds company says it is splitting its managed houses into two new divisions in recognition of the different needs of its drinks-led and food-led pubs.

EAST Anglia-based pub and brewing company Greene King has announced a major shake-up of its pubs operation.

The Bury St Edmunds company says it is splitting its managed houses into two new divisions in recognition of the different needs of its drinks-led and food-led pubs.

The local pubs arm will be made up of 510 predominantly community and town venues, while the destination pubs section will comprise 280 of the firm's more branded, food-led sites.

Mark Angela, who has run the firm's managed house business for the last three years, is set to leave the company, and will be replaced by Jonathan Lawson, who becomes managing director of Local Pubs, and Jonathan Webster, who takes over the Destinations Pubs division.


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The Destination Pubs division will focus on developing and rolling out centrally-developed, marketed and managed brands and formats for the sites, which typically will take a high proportion of their revenue from food sales, and may also have letting rooms.

By contrast, the Local Pubs division will be aiming to give pub managers more autonomy and flexibility. Most of its pubs are drinks-led, though with a growing food offer, and mainly based in towns and communities.

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Greene King has expanded its managed estate significantly in recent years, particularly after buying the Laurel neighbourhood estate and Hardys & Hansons, and its pub company's sales have gone up by two thirds over the last five years, while trading profits have more than doubled.

The re-organisation, due to be completed by the end of April, is being achieved without any increase in overheads, the company says, and will involve minimal disruption.

There will be no impact on the business's other divisions - Pub Partners (the leased and tenanted estate), Brewing Company (responsible for brands such as Greene King IPA and Old Speckled Hen) and Belhaven (its Scottish business which combines both pubs and brewing north of the border).

Greene King chief executive Rooney Anand paid tribute to Mr Angela, who steps down from the board on April 16, saying he had played “a key role” in the recent development of their managed pubs, particularly with the successful integration of Laurel, and that he left with their very best wishes.

The new managing director of Local Pubs, Mr Lawson, 36, who was retail operations director of Sainsbury's Convenience for the last three years, will become a Greene King board member.

While at Sainsbury's, he was responsible for significantly improving sales and profits at the supermarket giants Local and Central sites. He has also worked for Asda and Marks & Spencer and joins on April 10.

Mr Webster, 45, who becomes managing director of Destination Pubs, has more than 20 years' experience of the pub sector and was chief executive of Hardys & Hansons plc when it was acquired by Greene King last year, leading its successful integration into the group.

Both men will report to Mr Anand, who described the shake-up as “an important step” in ensuring their growth momentum continued well into the future.

“I am delighted to welcome Jonathan Lawson to Greene King,” said Mr Anand. “The flair and local entrepreneurialism he brought to Sainsbury's convenience stores combined with his strong retail skills will bring a fresh and exciting perspective to our Local Pubs.

“At the same time, we have been impressed from the outset with the Hardys & Hansons team, especially their food development and operational skills, and I am therefore delighted that Jonathan Webster will be staying with us to lead Destination Pubs.”

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