Punch Taverns' current chief executive Ian Dyson is to head the group’s soon-to-be demerged managed division Spirit, the company announced as it posted a fall in profit for the 28 weeks to 5 March 2011. As part of the new appointments, Walker Boyd, chairman of retailer WH Smith, is to join the Punch board with immediate effect and become chairman of Spirit following the demerger in the summer. Dyson will become chief executive of Spirit, with Mike Tye, current managing director of Punch’s managed arm, taking the role of deputy chief executive. The search for a finance director is “well underway”, Punch said. Roger Whiteside, currently managing director of Punch’s leased business, will become chief executive of the leased division after demerger. Steve Dando, currently acting group finance director, will be finance director. Dyson will become a non-executive director of Punch for a transitional period. Peter Cawdron, currently group chairman at Punch, who has indicated his intention to retire this year, will remain in position until a successor is appointed. Dyson said Punch is “making good progress on the demerger which remains subject to the finalisation of a number of areas, notably certain legal, tax and regulatory matters”. “We expect to complete the demerger by the end of the summer,” he added. The management shake-up comes as Punch Taverns reported strong growth in its managed division off-set by a fall in net income in its leased arm over the six months. Like-for-like sales in the managed arm were up 4.9% in the 28 weeks and 8.6% in Q2. Operating profits in the division were up 12%, with operating margin up 80 basis points. Like-for-like net income in the leased division was down 7%, although average net income per pub was up 0.3%, the first growth in three years. Overall, Punch reported profit before tax of £61m (2010: £66m) and ebitda of £206m (2010: £225m). Basic earnings per share were 7p, down from 7.5p in 2010. A loss after exceptional items of £325m was reported. There was a net exceptional charge of £370m, £367m of which is a non-cash impairment to turnaround assets. Basic loss per share after exceptional items was 50.5p, with net asset value per share of 189p, or 125p excluding goodwill. Dyson said: “We are pleased that our operational initiatives continue to translate into improved performance within both the managed and leased businesses. “Despite the challenging UK consumer environment, we remain confident of making further progress in the second half of the financial year. We have had a good start to the third quarter and are on track to meet our full year expectations. “This strong trading momentum provides a solid platform for the proposed demerger of Spirit, on which we are making good progress. We are pleased to announce that Walker Boyd will join the board and become the chairman of Spirit on demerger and we have confirmed the key executive appointments within both businesses.”