BrewDog installs chairman amid ‘fear’ furore
Blythe Jack: brought in to calm tensions at BrewDog
Troubled brewing group BrewDog appointed a board director as the first company’s first chairman just days before a group of former employees launched an attack on the company’s alleged “culture of fear”.
The Aberdeenshire company last week installed Blythe Jack, managing director of BrewDog shareholder TSG Consumer Partners.
It was reported this weekend that she would help it draw a line under the furore sparked by a group of disgruntled former employees.
Ms Jack’s appointment was announced by co-founder James Watt on 7 June, two days before the employees published an open letter attacking the company’s working practices.
In an internal email to staff Mr Watt said: “We have appointed our first ever chairperson to lead our board. That will be Blythe Jack and we are delighted she will be leading our business at board level. This is effective immediately.”
In 2017 the US private equity firm paid £185 million for a 23% stake in BrewDog and Ms Jack, who specialises in investing in consumer brands, became a director.
The appointment of Ms Jack as chairman, reported by the Mail on Sunday, comes just days after Daily Business predicted a change at the top of the company to help bring stability. The company is also pondering a £1.85 billion flotation which is likely to dilute the stakes held by Mr Watt and co-founder Martin Dickie.
At this valuation Mr Watt’s 24% share of BrewDog would be worth £440m and Mr Dickie’s 20% would be valued at £370m.
Ms Jack was formerly managing director at Rosewood Capital, where she orchestrated investment into brands including sportswear giant Under Armour and motorboat maker Cobalt Boats. She has been at TSG for 11 years.
In their open letter more than 60 former employees alleged there was a ‘toxic attitude’ at the company. Some said they had suffered mental illness as a result of working at the company.
Mr Watt apologised and promised to learn from the experience. He has also appointed a beer industry diversity specialist, consultant Ren Navarro, and plans to appoint its first mental health and wellbeing ambassador.