John Lovering, the chairman of pub group Mitchells & Butlers (M&B), who was installed after a high-profile boardroom battle last year, is to step down from his role. Lovering, who took on his job a year ago at the company’s annual general meeting, will step down as chairman and director of the company later this year. The chairman, who displaced Simon Laffin after a bitter shareholder battle spearheaded by investor Piedmont, said: "It has been a huge privilege to be chairman of M&B. The company is now on a much firmer footing than when I joined last year. Our board is strong and we have strengthened our executive team with five new executive committee members. "Group profits have improved significantly in the last year thanks to our focus of switching from volume to spend per head and our core brands are successfully implementing their site expansion goals. We are continuing to trade well and gain market share. I would like to wish the business and its employees every success for the future." M&B said that the non-executive directors, under the leadership of Simon Burke, have commenced a process to identify and appoint a new chairman. Lovering will remain as chairman and be involved in the process to appoint his successor. Since taking on leadership of M&B, Lovering has accelerated its transformation into a food-led business and made £550m of disposals.