There is no doubt that Ivell is an industry pro. His CV includes executive stints at Scottish & Newcastle and Whitbread, and he is a director of soft drinks company Britvic. In M&B, he now controls one of the best portfolios of pubs in the business, with a strong focus on the increasingly important pub-with-food segment.
Its share price and operational performance has been hurt by the interminable board-room soap opera. Ivell’s first job will be to steady the ship.
Next, he must find a chief executive. In many ways it is a plum job, but potential candidates are sure to be deterred by the fates of their predecessors. Analysts say the appointment of a bright young turk or an internal candidate – which both carry risks – is the most likely outcome.
Like all consumer-facing industries, pubs are suffering as real wages are hit by pay freezes and soaring inflation. But beneath the constant director bust-ups, brands like All Bar One give M&B a real competitive advantage.
Hopefully Ivell can stop squandering it by bringing some much-needed stability to the company.