Chris Welham, operations director at Greene King, will join Spirit Pub Company as managing director of its c.550-strong leased division next February, M&C Report has learnt. Welham joined Greene King from Punch Taverns in September 2009 and has been responsible for the performance of c.500 pubs within the Bury St Edmonds-based operator’s Pub Partners division. Previous to that he spent over five years at Punch as a regional operations director. Welham will replace Peter Brook, who is to step down from the role he has held since Spirit was demerged from Punch earlier this year. Brook previously served at the group as strategy director after Punch acquired Inspired Inns & Taverns, a leased pub business owned by Alchemy Partners that Brook ran as chief executive. His return to Punch followed his departure from Admiral Taverns in November 2010 after a two-year stint with the rival leased pub group, heading its turnaround division. Last month, Spirit’s leased division reported that like-for-like net income for the year to 20th August was down 4.1%, although the company reported a stronger second half of the year with sales down by 1.9%. Ebitda declined 3% to £42m, after a 4% reduction in pub numbers. The company said that its leased pubs have an average net income of £97,000.