British pub group to change board

BRITISH pub operator Mitchells & Butlers (M&B) – in which Irish investors John Magnier and JP McManus have a combined 17.5% shareholding – has announced a series of planned changes to its board of directors.

Changes include the removal of former minister for finance Ray MacSharry as non-executive director.

Earlier this week, M&B said it was preparing a submission to the panel on takeovers and mergers in Britain over what it has regarded as attempts by some of its largest shareholders to force control of its board.

That related to the group’s largest independent shareholder, British financier Joe Lewis’s Piedmont investment vehicle (which owns just over 22% of M&B) disagreeing with the board’s choice of candidates to succeed outgoing chairman Drummond Hall and trying to force the resignation of senior independent director Simon Laffin.

Although, Elpida – the investment vehicle of Mr Magnier and Mr McManus – was not mentioned by M&B, the group said the issues related to “a small number of its largest shareholders.”

Elpida is the second largest shareholder in the group.

Yesterday, M&B updated on the matter by announcing a number of planned board changes – including the appointment of Mr Laffin as its new chairman.

Mr Laffin said, via a statement: “We are moving swiftly and decisively to protect the interests of all shareholders and to maintain a sharp focus on operations.”

The group’s plans also include the resignation from the board of Richard McGuire – who was appointed by Piedmont – and three other board members; namely Denis Jackson, Douglas E McMahon and Mr MacSharry.

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