The chief executive of Black Country brewery and pub company Marston’s is stepping down after two decades in the role.
Ralph Findlay will leave the post at the listed firm in September to coincide with the end of its financial year.
Wolverhampton-based Marston’s told the stock exchange today that it had started the process of appointing his successor.
Mr Findlay joined the brewery in 1994 and was appointed chief executive in 2001 and it now operates an estate of around 1,500 pubs and employs 11,000 staff.
Last year, he oversaw the launch of a major joint venture with the UK arm of Danish giant Carlsberg to create a new brewing business called ‘Carlsberg Marston’s Brewing Company’.
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And yesterday Marston’s announced it had struck a deal with Welsh company SA Brain to buy eight of its pubs, following an agreement with the Cardiff-based firm in December to take over the running of its estate of 156 pubs.
The move by Mr Findlay follows a tumultuous period for the hospitality industry after suffering months of prolonged lockdowns as the country tried to combat the spread of covid-19.
Pubs are set to be allowed to open their outdoors spaces for customers from April 12.
Mr Findlay said: “I have been fortunate to work with many inspirational, talented and dedicated colleagues in an industry which is very close to my heart.
“Looking ahead to reopening and welcoming customers back into our wonderful pubs, I am confident that we have great people, a fantastic team in place and that my successor will enjoy working with them and the board to take this great company forward to the next phase of its development.”
Chairman William Rucker added: “Ralph is one of the longest-serving business leaders in an industry which has seen significant change and challenges during that time.
“He has overseen the development of Marston’s into one of the leading pub companies in the UK, through operational innovation to drive change and also transforming the business through strategic acquisition.
“He has guided the company through this last extremely challenging year to ensure it is ready to re-open as a purely focused pub operator with a substantially strengthened balance sheet.
“He leaves Marston’s in excellent shape and well-positioned to rebuild trading and go from strength to strength when restrictions are lifted.”