Brewing hire

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.

Ms Jack was parachuted in as chairwoman earlier this year after the brewer was rocked by accusations from former employees that it was creating a “culture of fear”.

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.”

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