Overall ranking: 11
Pubs ranking: 3
Tim Clarke has been chief executive of Mitchells & Butlers (M&B) since it demerged from Six Continents (formerly Bass) in April 2003.
M&B is the fifth largest pub operator and the second largest managed pub business in the UK. It runs more than 2,000 pubs, bars and restaurants and employs more than 37,000 staff. In 2004, the group reported pre-tax profits of £184m on sales of £1.56b.
Clarke, who was born in March 1957, graduated from Oxford in 1978. He joined stockbroker Panmure Gordon & Co the following year, where he worked as a brewery analyst from 1979 and as a partner and head of research from 1985 to 1990.
He became director of strategy for Bass plc in 1990 and, in 1992, become managing director for Bass European Hotels. In 1995 he took the role of chief executive of Bass Retail, which became M&B after the demerger.
After Bass disposed of its brewery interests in 2000, it renamed itself Six Continents, with Clarke as chief executive. It split into InterContinental Hotels Group and M&B in 2003.
What we think
M&B is a relatively new company but its name dates back to the merger of two family pub companies in the Midlands in 1898. M&B was snapped up by Bass, Ratcliffe and Gretton in 1961 to become Bass, Mitchells & Butler until the group merged with Charrington United in 1967. Between 1997 and 1998 Bass sold off its leased pubs to leave it with the nucleus of the modern M&B.
M&B proved a tasty bait when Six Continents announced its planned demerger and attracted many approaches and offers. In March 2003, shareholders rejected a bitterly-disputed £5.6b bid for the whole group from entrepreneur Hugh Osmond and a £2.8b offer for the pubs division from private equity group BC Partners. CVC Capital Partners and the Laurel Pub Company also showed a strong interest.
M&B now owns 3% of the UK’s pubs but accounts for 9% of the sector’s turnover. Weekly sales per pub average £15,200 or three times the national average. Some 80% are freehold and 73% are in residential locations.
It operates a diverse stable of brands under two operating divisions – pubs and bars (Ember Inns, Hollywood Bowl, Arena, Flares, Edwards, Goose, Scream, O’Neills, Sizzling Pub Co) and restaurants (Vintage Inns, Harvester, Toby Carvery, All Bar One, Innkeeper’s Fayre, Brown’s, and the Alex bar and brasserie chain in Germany).
Food sales have grown from 11% to 30% of the group total in the past decade, rising to 60% at brands such as Harvester, Toby and Vintage Inns.
The group also operates 24 Express by Holiday Inn hotels and 80 Innkeeper Lodges, making it the UK’s fifth largest budget hotel group. Accommodation now contributes 5% of turnover.
M&B has developed its franchise operation for smaller pubs and bars from 18 in 2003 to 74 today. This includes the two O’Neills pubs at Heathrow and Stansted airports run by The Restaurant Group.
M&B emerged as the 65th most admired company in the UK and the fourth most admired pubs and restaurant firm in the peer-reviewed Britain’s Most Admired Companies rankings in 2004
Clarke is also a director of the British Beer & Pub Association (where he served as chairman in 2002) and a non-executive director of Associated British Foods.