Blood is latest chief to call time on Mitchells & Butlers

The revolving door at the boardroom of Mitchells & Butlers, the pub and restaurant group, swung open again yesterday for the exit of its interim chief executive, Jeremy Blood.

Bob Ivell, M&B's interim chairman since the summer, will run the company until a permanent chief executive is in place. Mr Ivell, who has more than 40 years experience in the food and beverage sector, will then become non-executive chairman.

The departure of Mr Blood is the ninth change of either chief executive or chairman at M&B inside the past four years. His exit comes only two weeks after Joe Lewis – the Bahamas-based billionaire who has a shareholding of 23 per cent in the pub company – walked away from a bid at 230p a share. This valued M&B's equity at £941m.

Mr Ivell, who first joined the board of M&B in May, said: "My immediate key tasks are to recruit a permanent, high-quality chief executive, strengthen the board further with additional non-executive directors and ensure the implementation of our strategy for the benefit of shareholders."

The group, which operates 1,600 outlets including the Toby Carvery, Harvester and O'Neill's brands, grew like-for-like sales by 0.5 per cent in the nine weeks to 17 September.

Mr Blood, who will stay on for a short handover period, said: "This is a good time for me to step down from the board, enabling me to resume my other business interests."