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BrewDog chief pulls out of speaking engagement

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Company culture has been under attack

A BrewDog executive has pulled out of a speaking engagement following the recent complaints from ex-employees alleging that the craft beer giant operated a culture of fear.

The Aberdeenshire firm’s president and group chief operating officer David McDowall was due to speak at Aberdeen’s first TEDx event next month.

He was expected to deliver a speech encouraging the audience to “think David” but “be Goliath”, drawing on BrewDog’s growth.

But a tweet sent from the organisers of the event on 31 July said Mr McDowall has had a change of heart.

The tweet stated: “Dave McDowall, president and COO of BrewDog, has withdrawn as a speaker at TEDxAberdeen.

“In light of allegations raised by open letter from ex-employees, Dave is focusing his energies with his team at this time.”

A letter from ex-employees posted on Twitter earlier this month claimed a “significant number” of former staff had “suffered mental illness as a result of working at BrewDog”.

It claimed there was a toxic culture at the company. The letter prompted an immediate apology from co-founder James Watt who has also instigated an internal review of the company’s HR policies.

It later emerged that the company had appointed non-executive director Blythe Jack as its first chairman two days before the open letter appeared on Twitte.



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