Spotlight On... Alistair Darby; Chief executive, Mitchells & Butlers

I think I've seen this bloke down my local...

That is possible, as Alistair Darby has spent the last 15 years at Marston's, the brewer and pub operator, most recently as chief operating officer.

Is he still pulling pints at Marston's?

No, he jumped ship to bigger pub operator Mitchells & Butlers, the owner of the Harvester, Toby Carvery and All Bar One chains, to be its chief executive nearly two months ago.

Isn't M&B known for its revolving boardroom door?

Mr Darby is the tenth change of chief executive or chairman in 10 years.

Does the boardroom have itchy seats?

Not sure but M&B has been a lively place since Joe Lewis, the billionaire currency trader, first acquired a stake in the group in 2008. He now holds a 26.3 per cent stake.

Come again?

Mr Lewis's Piedmont investment vehicle walked away from a near-£3bn bid for the pub group in October 2011.

Mr Darby is a diplomat then?

It appears so. He said he met Mr Lewis in the run-up to accepting the job at M&B, as he felt it was the "right and proper" thing to do.

What is he likely to do with M&B?

He says the pub operator needs to "execute better" to drive higher sales growth, but is adamant it has the "right strategy".

How did it perform last year?

Resilient was the word, as M&B grew its underlying profits by 4 per cent to £166m over the year to September.

What about Darby himself?

He describes himself as an "ambitious chap" who has three daughters and lives in Worcestershire. He is also a gardener and loves the cinema.

Exercise?

He enjoys running and did the New York Marathon in 2004. These days, he runs to offset the "vicissitudes" of working in the hospitality industry.

Anything else?

Mr Darby is a decent cook, but admits he's not "Gordon Ramsay-esque".

He has an apron then?

Funnily enough, he does. His wife bought him an apron that reads "I cook better than I kiss". For the record, Mr Darby doubts this, as he claims to be a "good kisser".

Any pets?

He has two Staffordshire bull terriers, which apparently fit the stereotype by barking at all and sundry on walks in the park.

Mr Darby is well protected then if Joe Lewis gets angry?

Now, now. Mr Darby says: "I have the best job in the industry."

PROMOTED VIDEO
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
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 People

Chief Executive

£28, 700: Whiskey Whiskey Tango: Property Management Company is seeking a brig...

COO / Chief Operating Officer

£80 - 100k + Bonus: Guru Careers: A COO / Chief Operating Officer is needed to...

HR Manager - Kent - £45,000

£40000 - £45000 per annum: Ashdown Group: HR Manager / Training Manager (L&D /...

HR Manager - Edgware, London - £45,000

£40000 - £45000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: HR Manager - Edgware, Lon...

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