BrewDog hires Leighton to counter ‘culture of fear’
Allan Leighton: revived Asda
BrewDog has hired former Asda chief executive Allan Leighton as non-executive chairman three months after former staff accused the company of creating a “toxic” culture.
Mr Leighton, who is also chairman of the Coop group and PizzaExpress, will provide “experienced counsel on leadership and governance matters” and will act as a mentor to BrewDog founder and chief executive James Watt, the company said.
He replaces Blythe Jack of American private equity firm TSG Consumer Partners, which owns a 22% stake in BrewDog.
Mr Watt promised to respond to the criticism and Ms Jack will remain on the board of the company to oversee a review of its operations.
One of Mr Leighton’s key tasks is likely to be guiding the company through an admission to the stock market which had been planned last year until the pandemic hit.
It was valued at almost £2bn in its latest crowdfunding round and posted a pre-tax loss of £13.1m for 2020 with net revenues of £182m.
Leighton said BrewDog had “built an incredible market position and brand in a short space of time. It continues to grow quickly all over the world, has a fantastic team of people, and an outstanding sustainability story to tell.”
He led a revival of Asda which which he led until just after its sale to Walmart in 1999 for £6.7bn.
Last week BrewDog unveiled a partnership with Japanese brewer Asahi to create BrewDog Japan, a joint venture that will operate as a standalone entity in Japan, taking BrewDog into what it hopes will be a lucrative new market.
Mr Watt said the new chairman would bring “immense experience and a phenomenal track record to BrewDog”.