M&B chief Fowle calls time

MITCHELLS & Butlers (M&B) chief executive Adam Fowle quit yesterday, just weeks after chairman John Lovering left the company.

Fowle’s resignation comes amid rumours of tension between Fowle and 23 per cent shareholder Joe Lewis.

His departure after just two years was by “mutual consent”, according to M&B’s stock market statement.

The company has been in turmoil for several years, with shareholders at loggerheads.

Fowle was the last of the original board members when, at an annual meeting last year, Lewis forced through a coup, ditching most directors.

The interim chief executive is Jeremy Blood – a non-executive appointed on Lewis’s recommendation.

Lewis acquired his stake from Robert Tchenguiz, whose ill-fated attempt to split off M&B’s property arm ended up costing the company £500m after a hedging strategy went wrong.

Analyst at Evolution Securities Nigel Parson wrote: “Was he pushed? Did he jump? Are the hands of Joe Lewis and Elpida at work?...the soap opera that is Mitchells & Butlers continues to run and run.”

Simon Burke, who replaced Lovering as chairman, said: “Adam has made a significant contribution over a number of years to Mitchells & Butlers and in particular in the past two years ... in challenging conditions.”