Fuller’s has announced a restructure following the sale of its beer business, which will see Jonathon Swaine leave his role as managing director of Fuller’s Inns in October.
With the role of manging director of the beer company being made redundant on the back of the sale to Asahi, Simon Dodd will also leave Fullers, effective from the end of next month.
Fred Turner, the current head of the tenanted pub business, will become the company’s retail director, taking on responsibility for the managed division of Fuller’s Inns, and will join the board as an executive director on 1 June.
Richard Fuller will resign as corporate affairs director on 31 January 2020 – with that role also being made redundant - but will remain on the board as a non-executive director.
It follows the announcement on 25 January that Fuller’s was selling its beer business to Asahi for £250m.
The company confirmed this morning that no objections to the deal have been raised by the Competition and Markets Authority.
Comment by MCA editor, James Wallin
The audacious sale of the Fuller’s beer business, announced earlier this year, was inevitably going to lead to some changes for the company. Head brewer Georgina Young has already secured a new berth, at Bath Ales, and it was inevitable that Simon Dodd’s role would also be made redundant.
It was the question of Jonathon Swaine’s role that was at the centre of much of the debate about the future direction of the company. With chief executive Simon Emeny now fully focussed on the pubs side and Fred Turner’s star rising after a successful stint heading up the tenanted division, the Fuller’s Inns business was in danger of becoming a little top heavy.
Swaine has long been a name linked with top jobs across the sector, including most recently the vacant positions at Casual Dining Group and The Restaurant Group, and before that as a potential successor for Rooney Anand at Greene King. He is widely admired across the industry for the quality of the estate and people culture he has created across Fuller’s Inns. Now would seem to be the ideal time for him to become the focal point for a business and I’m sure there will be no shortage of offers.
Turner’s promotion to the board does of course continue the strong line of family involvement in the 170-year-old business but this is no mere case of nepotism. Turner has impressed with his handling of the tenanted estate, introducing a new turnover agreement, integrating elements of support from the wider business and positioning the estate for further growth. He will take up his new role in June but with Swaine set to continue until October, there will be time for a substantial handover period.
With a £250m war chest there are some exciting opportunities for the new-look board. Emeny has proven himself to be a canny (and, from my point of view, annoyingly discrete!) M&A expert and the company will no doubt be vying with Young’s and Stonegate for some of the premium pub groups currently on the market.
The next 170 years are sure to be interesting.