David Prosser: Buy this man a drink: he's going to need it

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The Independent Online

Outlook Having pipped him to the top job at Marks & Spencer, Marc Bolland can hardly be surprised that the retailer's finance director Ian Dyson is off to pastures new. Still, Mr Bolland will no doubt have hoped to hang on to Mr Dyson – who knows better than almost anyone where M&S has buried all its bodies – for slightly longer than 48 hours.

Still, all credit to Mr Dyson for being prepared to take on another British institution that isn't all it once was. And though the offer of the chief executive's office may have clinched the deal, Mr Dyson will no doubt recognise that the great British pub needs far more of a rescue job than the retailer he is leaving behind.

At his new employer, Punch Taverns, he will have to contend with the ongoing impact of the smoking ban, ever-rising duties and taxes, fierce competition from the supermarkets and customers who seem to prefer drinking at home these days. Those are the industry issues; throw in Punch's £3bn-plus debt pile and its fractious relationship with some of its tenants, and one really begins to feel for its next landlord.