A new chief executive has taken over the reins of Birmingham pubs operator Mitchells & Butlers after the last boss quit his £611,000-a-year job following a £69 million write-off on interest rates.
Adam Fowle, aged 49, joined Bass – as the business was then known – in 1984 and rose through the ranks to chief operating officer and then acting chief executive following the departure of previous incumbent Tim Clarke in May.
Chairman Drummond Hall confirmed Mr Fowle’s permanent appointment following a search involving external and internal candidates.
Mr Clarke left the top job after the company racked up massive losses in the wake of a disastrous hedge against interest rates. His replacement joined the Mitchells board in 2007, when he was appointed managing director for the restaurants estate, which includes Harvester. He has also been managing director of the pubs and bars division.
Mr Fowle described the company as a “great business with tremendous prospects”.
The appointment was met with optimism from the company’s investors, as shares in the company jumped by three per cent in early trading following the appointment.
Analysts said the appointment cleared the way for Mitchells to attempt to buy some of Spirit – the managed pub company within Punch Taverns.
Mr Hall said: “The board appointed Adam as chief executive after an extensive search process which considered both internal and external candidates.
“I have no doubt Adam will continue to build on the excellent track record he has already developed at the company and, drawing on his wealth of experience, will continue to drive the business’s strong performance.”
Mr Fowle said: “Mitchells & Butlers is a great business with tremendous prospects. I sincerely welcome this opportunity to lead the company forward and, together with the management team, intend to build on the success of our operational strength to make the most of our future potential.”
Mr Fowle has been acting chief executive at Mitchells & Butlers, which owns All Bar One and O’Neill’s, since May 21.
His run of service at the company was broken by a spell as retail director at Sainsbury’s in 2003, before he rejoined Mitchells & Butlers as business development director in 2005.
He first joined the company’s board in October 2007 when he was appointed managing director for restaurants.
The Birmingham Post reported in May that Mr Clarke left Mitchells shortly after finance director Karim Naffah and chairman Roger Carr also departed.
They left in the wake of the multi-million losses incurred by an attempt to hedge long-term interest rates on debt taken on as part of an equally ill-fated £4.5 billion pubs sale and lease-back deal with Robert Tchenguiz’s investment vehicle R20.