Birmingham-based pub chain Mitchells & Butlers has revealed its new chairman as part of wider plans to remove rebel shareholders from its board.
M&B has appointed senior independent director Simon Laffin as its new chairman to succeed Drummond Hall, who had earlier indicated his intention to retire.
In a statement to the London Stock Exchange, the group also said that Richard McGuire would be stepping down from his position as a director, along with Denis Jackson, Ray MacSharry and Douglas E McMahon.
The four are all associated with Piedmont Inc, the investment vehicle owned by billionaire Joe Lewis, which is seeking to gain control of the board and of the company.
Mr Laffin said: “We are moving swiftly and decisively to protect the interests of all shareholders and to maintain a sharp focus on operations.”
Mr Hall, who has agreed to continue to serve as a non executive director until the board has been further strengthened, added: “Simon was one of the shortlisted candidates for the Chairmanship and I am delighted that he is taking over, confident that he will work tirelessly for all our shareholders.”
Piedmont, which owns 23 per cent of M&B, is now expected by experts to mount a takeover move for the company.
The group said on Monday said it would ask the takeover watchdog to rule whether rebel shareholders were attempting to gain control of the group after they blocked the appointment of a chairman.
It added that Piedmont had obstructed the appointment of an independent chairman and vetoed three candidates at the final stage despite being involved in the hiring process from its beginning.