Ivell takes on a new exec role at M&B

BOB IVELL was yesterday confirmed as executive chairman of Mitchells & Butlers as interim chief executive Jeremy Blood stepped down, following a bruising period when largest shareholder Joe Lewis made an aborted takeover attempt.

The shake-up brings the number of board-level changes in the last four years to nine, with six chairmen and three chief executives at the helm of the pub group.

Doug Evans, general counsel and company secretary, has been appointed to the board to become its fifth member, alongside finance director Tim Jones and Doug McMahon and Ron Robson, both representatives of Lewis’s Piedmont vehicle.

Ivell, who took on the chairman’s role on an interim basis in July, is leading the search for a new CEO and will take on those duties until an appointment is made. Blood will remain with the business for a short time to ensure an “effective handover”.

Analysts said the appointment of Ivell – a veteran of the hospitality sector after spending nearly 40 years in the industry as chairman of Regent Inns, managing director of Scottish & Newcastle Retail and managing director of Beefeater restaurants – should “start to bring some calm to Mitchells & Butlers’ troubled ship”.

“These are tentative signs M&B is making moves towards a return to normality and management stability after the disruption caused by board-level resignations and the recent takeover talks from Piedmont,” said Paul Crawford at RBS.

Ivell said: “My immediate key tasks are to recruit a permanent, high-quality chief executive and strengthen the board further with additional non-executive directors.” Shares in M&B closed up 5p at 246p on the news.