John Lovering is set to quit as chairman of Mitchells & Butlers (M&B), the pub group behind the Harvester and Toby Carvery chains, after just a year in the job. The retail veteran has told the board he wants to stand down as soon as a successor has been found. His departure is expected to be announced at the company's annual meeting this week and a search for his replacement is under way. When Lovering quits, he is likely to be followed off the board by Mike Balfour, founder of the Fitness First gym chain and a close associate of the M&B chairman. The pair, along with Simon Burke, former boss of Hamleys, and Jeremy Blood, previously managing director of Scottish & Newcastle, the brewer, joined M&B at last year's meeting. The Sunday Times, Business, p3