Foster confirms move to Inntrepreneur

Michael Foster yesterday resigned as chairman of Courage, the brewer that is close to being taken over by Scottish & Newcastle Breweries, to become chief executive of Inntrepreneur, the largest independent pub chain in the UK.

Inntrepreneur has 4,330 pubs and is jointly owned by Grand Metropolitan and Foster's Brewing of Australia, which is selling Courage for pounds 425m.

Drinks industry analysts said they would be surprised if hundreds, if not a couple of thousand pubs from the Inntrepreneur stable were not eventually sold to reduce the company to a more manageable size.

They added, however, that it would be difficult to achieve good prices on pubs because of the unattractive and potentially prohibitive 20-year Inntrepreneur leases that most of the landlords are locked into.

One industry observer said that Ushers Brewery, which itself was sold off from Courage and which had to abandon a flotation on the stock market last year, was a likely buyer of Inntrepreneur pubs.

Ushers is virtually a forced buyer because an agreement to brew beer for Courage is starting to wind down. The company will soon be in a position of being able to produce considerably more pints than it can sell.

Mr Foster, who has worked for Courage for 12 years and been chairman since 1992, refused to be drawn on his strategic ideas from elevating Inntrepreneur from a company beset by controversy to one that can compete effectively with the big pub-owning breweries.

"It is too early to talk about structure and where we end up. There are a wealth of things to be evaluated," said Mr Foster.

One of the main things to be evaluated is how to placate hundreds of landlords who are taking legal action over the terms of their leases which, they claim, are financially unworkable and breach European law.

Brian Jacobs, financial adviser to dozens of Inntrepreneur tenants and author of the book Pub Lease Rent Reviews, said Mr Foster faced an almost impossible task.

"I wish him luck, but luck isn't going to change Inntrepreneur's spots. What can he change? The management is landlocked by the 20-year leases. They can only bust it up," he said.

Several parcels of pubs have already been hived off from Inntrepreneur, which once boasted an estate stretching to more than 6,000 pubs.

The main problem now is how to reshape the group in a radpidly changing industry, fast heading towards consolidation. The Inntrepreneur estate is roughly the same size as Bass's and much bigger than the 2,800 pubs owned by S&N, which will become the UK's largest brewer when it acquires Courage.

Life and Style
A teenager boy wakes up.
Life and Style
Researchers have said it could take only two questions to identify a problem with alcohol
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
Critics say Kipling showed loathing for India's primitive villagers in The Jungle Book
filmChristopher Walken, Bill Murray, Scarlett Johanssen Idris Elba, Andy Serkis, Benedict Cumberbatch, Cate Blanchett and Christian Bale
Life and Style
Playing to win: for Tanith Carey, pictured with Lily, right, and Clio, even simple games had to have an educational purpose
lifeTanith Carey explains what made her take her foot off the gas
Life and Style
Arts and Entertainment
A still from Duncan Campbell's hour-long film 'It for Others'
Turner Prize 2014
Life and Style
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
Tony Hadley in a scene from ‘Soul Boys Of The Western World’
musicSpandau Ballet are back together - on stage and screen
Arts and Entertainment
From left to right: Ed Stoppard as Brian Epstein, Sheridan Smith as Cilla Black and Elliott Cowan as George Martin in 'Cilla'
tvCilla review: A poignant ending to mini-series
Life and Style
Bearing up: Sebastian Flyte with his teddy Aloysius in Brideshead Revisited
lifePhilippa Perry explains why a third of students take a bear to uni
Arts and Entertainment
Sir Alan Sugar appearing in a shot from Apprentice which was used in a Cassette Boy mashup
artsA judge will rule if pieces are funny enough to be classed as parodies
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Trust Accountant - Kent

NEGOTIABLE: Austen Lloyd: TRUST ACCOUNTANT - KENTIf you are a Chartered Accou...

Graduate Recruitment Consultant - 2013/14 Grads - No Exp Needed

£18000 - £20000 per annum + OTE £30000: SThree: SThree are a global FTSE 250 b...

Law Costs

Highly Competitive Salary: Austen Lloyd: CITY - Law Costs Draftsperson - NICHE...

SQL Developer (Stored Procedures) - Hertfordshire/Middlesex

£300 - £330 per day: Ashdown Group: SQL Developer (Stored Procedures) Watford...

Day In a Page

Isis is an hour from Baghdad, the Iraq army has little chance against it, and air strikes won't help

Isis an hour away from Baghdad -

and with no sign of Iraq army being able to make a successful counter-attack
Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

The exhibition nods to rich and potentially brilliant ideas, but steps back
Last chance to see: Half the world’s animals have disappeared over the last 40 years

Last chance to see...

The Earth’s animal wildlife population has halved in 40 years
So here's why teenagers are always grumpy - and it's not what you think

Truth behind teens' grumpiness

Early school hours mess with their biological clocks
Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?

Hacked photos: the third wave

Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?
Royal Ballet star dubbed 'Charlize Theron in pointe shoes' takes on Manon

Homegrown ballerina is on the rise

Royal Ballet star Melissa Hamilton is about to tackle the role of Manon
Education, eduction, education? Our growing fascination with what really goes on in school

Education, education, education

TV documentaries filmed in classrooms are now a genre in their own right
It’s reasonable to negotiate with the likes of Isis, so why don’t we do it and save lives?

It’s perfectly reasonable to negotiate with villains like Isis

So why don’t we do it and save some lives?
This man just ran a marathon in under 2 hours 3 minutes. Is a 2-hour race in sight?

Is a sub-2-hour race now within sight?

Dennis Kimetto breaks marathon record
We shall not be moved, say Stratford's single parents fighting eviction

Inside the E15 'occupation'

We shall not be moved, say Stratford single parents
Air strikes alone will fail to stop Isis

Air strikes alone will fail to stop Isis

Talks between all touched by the crisis in Syria and Iraq can achieve as much as the Tornadoes, says Patrick Cockburn
Nadhim Zahawi: From a refugee on welfare to the heart of No 10

Nadhim Zahawi: From a refugee on welfare to the heart of No 10

The Tory MP speaks for the first time about the devastating effect of his father's bankruptcy
Witches: A history of misogyny

Witches: A history of misogyny

The sexist abuse that haunts modern life is nothing new: women have been 'trolled' in art for 500 years
Shona Rhimes interview: Meet the most powerful woman in US television

Meet the most powerful woman in US television

Writer and producer of shows like Grey's Anatomy, Shonda Rhimes now has her own evening of primetime TV – but she’s taking it in her stride
'Before They Pass Away': Endangered communities photographed 'like Kate Moss'

Endangered communities photographed 'like Kate Moss'

Jimmy Nelson travelled the world to photograph 35 threatened tribes in an unashamedly glamorous style