Mitchells & Butlers (M&B) has confirmed that industry veteran Bob Ivell will take on the role of its executive chairman with immediate effect. Ivell, who has been chairman of the managed pub operator on an interim basis since July, will also take on the duties of chief executive at the group, while he leads the search for a replacement for Jeremy Blood, who has held the role since March. M&B confirmed that Blood has stepped down as chief executive, a role he took on an interim basis, and as a director. He will remain with the business for a short period to ensure an effective handover. The company thanked Blood for playing “an important role in driving forward the strategy of the business”. A list of leading industry players have been linked with the post of chief executive at the operator of the All Bar One, Harvester and Toby Carvery brands, including John Dunsmore, the outgoing chief executive at C&C Group and Andrew Page, current chief executive at The Restaurant Group. Ivell has nearly 40 years experience in the industry, including roles as chairman of Regent Inns, managing director of Scottish & Newcastle Retail, and managing director of Beefeater Restaurants, one of Whitbread’s pub restaurant brands. He is currently senior independent director of Britvic, chairman of David Lloyd Leisure and a board advisor to the Delphi Partnership, a corporate finance advisory firm. The company said it would also strengthen its board with the appointment of additional non-executive directors. It announced the appointment of Doug Evans, its general counsel & company secretary, to its board. It said that Evans has “substantial corporate and commercial experience in a variety of sectors”. Following these changes its board comprises: Ivell (executive chairman); Tim Jones (finance director); Evans (general counsel & company secretary); Ron Robson (deputy chairman and Piedmont Inc. representative); Douglas McMahon (Piedmont Inc. representative). Ivell said: "I am delighted to take on the role of executive chairman within this industry leading business. My immediate key tasks are to recruit a permanent, high quality CEO, strengthen the board further with additional non-executive directors and ensure the implementation of our strategy for the benefit of shareholders. "The board and I would like to thank Jeremy for his contribution to the business since he joined the board in January 2010 and in particular for the leadership he has provided over the last seven months whilst assuming the role of interim chief executive. We wish him well in his future pursuits." Blood said: "This is a good time for me to step down from the board enabling me to resume my other business interests. I would like to thank the management and staff of M&B for their support during my period as interim chief executive and I wish the business well for the future." Comment by M&C Report group editor Paul Charity Bob Ivell has been signalling his desire to become permanent chairman of Mitchells & Butlers ever since Joe Lewis decided against tabling a formal bid to take the company private. His retail credentials as former chief executive of Scottish & Newcastle Retail will have impressed Lewis, who has made it clear through associates that it's the kind of curriculum vitae they are looking for in the senior executive positions within the company. One irony here is that back in 2002 Scottish & Newcastle and M&B's predecessor company Six Continents were involved in merger talks for at least three months - they fell apart eventually over issues like which executives should take the senior positions in the merged company. Blood steps down with immediate effect after a bruising six months in charge of the UK's largest licensed retail company. He will have been shaken by the intense scrutiny he has undergone with the media raking over every aspect of his relationship with Joe Lewis. Ivell should benefit from a collective wish for a period of calm at M&B after several years of board level turmoil although the company, with its de-normalised share register, has consistently found a way to self-harm.