A BURTON brewing giant has been left reeling after one of its senior bosses decided to jump ship and join a rival firm.
Marston’s, based in Shobnall Road, has announced that chief operating officer Alistair Darby is leaving the firm to take up the role of chief executive at pub and restaurant company Mitchells & Butlers.
He has stepped down from the board with immediate effect and will leave the company at the end of the month.
He will then take up his new role on October 8.
Peter Dalzell, managing director of Marston’s Inns and Taverns, and Stephen Oliver, managing director of Marston’s Beer and Pub Company, will report directly to chief executive Ralph Findlay until a replacement is found.
Chairman David Thompson said: “The board would like to thank Alistair for his valuable contribution to the business during his 15 years with the group.
“We wish him all the very best for the future.”
Mr Darby boasts more than two decades’ experience in the pubs and consumer industries, including roles with Mars Confectionery, Wolverhampton and Dudley Breweries and United Distillers.
He joined Marston’s in 1997 and has worked in a series of senior operational and strategic roles, including heading up its branded and suburban managed pubs, its beer division and its tenanted and leased pub unit.
Mr Darby joined the board of Marston’s in 2003 and has served as chief operating officer since last year.
Mr Darby said: “Mitchells & Butlers is a market-leading business with tremendous potential that is well advanced on a transformation programme.
“I am excited by the opportunity to lead the company and, together with the management team, to build on its strong estate, brands and operations.”
Mitchells & Butlers executive chairman Bob Ivell said: “The board and I are all delighted to announce the appointment of Alistair as chief executive following an extensive and rigorous search process.
“I am confident that we have secured the right person for the role and that drawing on his wealth of operational and brand experience, Alistair will contribute greatly to the firm’s continued strong performance.”