IAN Prosser was an exceptionally young 43 when he took over as chairman and chief executive of Bass in 1987. Although he trained as a chartered accountant and came up through the ranks as a corporate financier, nearly 25 years at Bass have put beer in his veins.
Educated at Watford Grammar School and Birmingham University, he was working at the Birmingham office of Coopers & Lybrand when he attracted the eye of his predecessor, Sir Derek Palmer. He joined Bass in 1969 and enjoyed a meteoric rise. Within nine years he was finance director, and became managing director six years later.
Mr Prosser has been chairman of the Brewers' Society and was selected as its spokesman during the MMC investigation into the brewing business. He was critical of the subsequent Beer Orders, remarking: 'I don't think the Government has done the consumer a great service. The price of beer will go up sooner and there will be fewer brands of beer.'
Mr Prosser has presided over Bass during a period of considerable difficulty. In May, the group announced interim profits down 14 per cent on the previous year.
TONY HALES, chief executive at Allied-Lyons
BORN in 1948, Tony Hales joined Allied-Lyons in 1979 and was appointed a director of Allied Breweries in 1987, at the age of 39. Two years later, he became a director of Allied-Lyons, on taking over as chief executive of J Lyons. His big break came after the foreign currency speculation scandal that lost Allied-Lyons pounds 147m. In the wake of this debacle, Sir Derrick Holden-Brown and Richard Martin, then chairman and chief executive respectively, both resigned. Mr Hales took over as the new chief executive in 1991, aged only 43.
An ambitious man who, on his own admission, always aspired to run a big company, he has a background in marketing, in common with Michael Jackaman, who was simultaneously appointed chairman.
Mr Hales commands respect in the City. He has also presided over improved fortunes in the group.
BRIAN STEWART, chief executive at Scottish & Newcastle
BRIAN Stewart, 48, is like most of the board - including his patron, Sir Alick Rankin - a passionate golfer. Born and educated in Scotland - he went to Edinburgh University - he trained as an accountant but broadened his background with a business studies degree.
After joining S&N in 1976, he became corporate development director in 1985 and finance director three years later. In 1991, when Sir Alick split his dual role as chairman and chief executive, Mr Stewart took over the latter function.
He worked in the retail and production divisions before reaching board level and, as finance director, received a baptism of fire when Elders launched its six-month-long hostile bid.
Like many of his industry peers, Mr Stewart is critical of the legislation that resulted from the MMC report, although S&N, with only 2,300 pubs, was relatively unaffected by the order to cut tied outlets.
PETER JARVIS, Whitbread's chief executive
THE SON of a mill worker in Bolton, Peter Jarvis, 51, has made it to the top in a company where family connections have counted for a lot - it was only last March that Sam Whitbread resigned from his position as non-executive chairman.
Educated at Bolton Grammar School and Christ's College, Cambridge, Mr Jarvis spent 12 years at Unilever before joining Whitbread in 1976, as sales and marketing director for John Long International. He became group marketing director in 1978 and the following year joined the main board, where he was appointed international managing director and head of the trading division in rapid succession. He was appointed group managing director in 1985 and chief executive in March 1990.
Mr Jarvis has been one of the most outspoken critics of the Beer Orders.
Last March, he said they had cost Whitbread pounds 80m.
MICHAEL FOSTER, executive chairman of Courage
MICHAEL Foster, 47, moved into brewing later than most of his peers in the industry. After a marketing career, he joined Courage as marketing director in 1983 and within nine years had made it to the top as executive chairman, Europe and the UK.
Mr Foster (no relation to the eponymous owner) is a product of Winchester College and Churchill College, Cambridge.
He has a reputation as a shrewd strategist. He was a key player in formulating the agreement with Grand Metropolitan, under which Courage pulled out of direct retailing and pub ownership to concentrate exclusively on brewing and brand management.
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