Punch parts company with chief exec in shake-up

Punch Taverns revealed a management shake-up yesterday that will see its chief executive step down immediately, just six months after the pubs group listed on the stock market.

Steven Lambert, who was appointed chief executive less than a year ago, is to be replaced by Giles Thorley, the group's executive chairman. Mr Lambert, 50, will collect about £350,000 in compensation, the equivalent of 12 months of his basic salary plus bonuses. He also takes with him a paper profit of nearly £225,000 in respect of his options on 800,000 shares, to which he remains entitled.

Mr Thorley, who was poached from the Nomura-owned rival pub chain Unique to spearhead Punch's flotation, said: "We agreed now was a good time to change the roles. It wasn't something that had been planned long term." He added that the decision had been reached jointly and was amicable.

Mr Lambert, who joined Punch in 1999, gave no details of his plans, adding: "I now feel able to explore new aspects in the knowledge that there will be no interruption in the running and development of the business." Phil Cox, the deputy chairman who was previously Asda's finance director, will step up to the post of non-executive chairman.

Analysts were divided about the significance of the board changes. James Wheatcroft, at Investec, said: "It appears a little hasty after the recent flotation." Greg Feehely, at Old Mutual, said the shake-up "did not cause us any concern".

The management reshuffle came as Punch, which is Britain's second-biggest pubs group, reported better-than-expected maiden results. Pre-tax profits for the year to 17 August rose 9 per cent to £93m from £85m – beating analysts' forecasts of about £87m. Turnover increased by 6 per cent to £392m, while like-for-like sales were up 3 per cent. Margins rose by 1.3 per cent driven by increased income from gaming machines, which rose 42 per cent to £10m, and a change in the group's leasing arrangements.

Mr Thorley said the group was well placed to reach its expansion target of adding about 300 pubs a year.

Punch raised £152m from its flotation, most of which was used to slash debt. Its shares, which fell to a steep discount on listing but later recovered, fell 2p yesterday to 228p.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Recruitment Genius: Software Development Manager

£40000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Ashdown Group: Product Manager - (Product Marketing, Financial Services)

£30000 - £35000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager - Marke...

Recruitment Genius: Compliance Assistant

£13000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This Pension Specialist was established ...

Ashdown Group: Market Research Executive

£23000 - £26000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Market Research Executive...

Day In a Page

Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

Cabbage is king again

Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

Paul Scholes column

The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

Frank Warren's Ringside

No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee