Admiral Taverns has announced that Jonathan Paveley has decided to step down as executive chairman after four years in the role. The group has announced the appointment of John Sands as non-executive chairman and Kevin Georgel as chief executive, effective immediately.

Paveley oversaw the successful turnaround of Admiral, which culminated in the sale of the business to an affiliate of Cerberus Capital Management at the end of 2012. To ensure an effective handover of the business, Paveley chose to stay on for a year after the sale to Cerberus, during which time the company was named Tenanted & Leased Pub Company of the Year at the 2013 Publican Awards. With the handover successfully completed, Paveley, who remains chairman of Hook Norton, will now pursue other opportunities.

Paveley said: “I leave Admiral in splendid health, with an excellent management team, strong licensee relationships and great financial backers. I am proud of what has been achieved in four busy years, and wish the business well for the future.” He leaves with the thanks and best wishes of the Board and employees.

Kevin Georgel, who has been managing director of Admiral Taverns since 2010, assumes the CEO position with considerable knowledge of the company, its employees and its licensees as well as deep experience in the brewing and licensed retailing industry. Prior to Admiral, he spent several years at Punch Taverns, culminating in serving as operations director, and before that he was at Molson Coors. He started his career in the industry at Bass PLC in 1997. 

He said: “It has been a pleasure working closely with Jonathan over the past four years. He has set the bar high, and I am delighted to have the opportunity to continue building on our achievements. Thanks to Jonathan’s leadership, Admiral has earned a tremendous reputation for operational excellence, one that we intend to develop further.”

John Sands, who has been a Non-Executive Director of Admiral Taverns since September 2013, is one of the most experienced executives in the brewing and licensed retailing industry. In 1996 he led the management buy-out from Brent Walker of Pubmaster, which he built into one of the UK’s biggest pub companies. As Executive Chairman, he subsequently sold Pubmaster to Punch Taverns for £1.3bn. He has held a number of other leading positions in the industry and is currently Chairman of north-east based Wear Inns.      

He said: “We are very grateful to Jonathan for the significant contribution he has made to Admiral Taverns and wish him well for the future.    Our strategy remains unchanged – to become the UK’s best operator of tenanted, freehold community pubs by investing in our pubs and providing industry-leading support to our licensees.  Kevin Georgel is an excellent choice for CEO, and I look forward to working with him and all of Admiral Taverns’ strong management team to drive the continued development of the Group.”