Overall ranking: 29
Pub ranking: 2
Rooney Anand - Snapshot
Rooney Anand is chief executive of brewer and pub operator Greene King, which has brewed in Bury St Edmonds, Suffolk, since 1799.
The group is the UK’s third largest pub company and the biggest integrated brewer and pub operator. Greene King IPA is the UK’s top-selling cask ale.
Greene King has about 2,500 pubs covering both managed and tenanted properties, including the Belhaven pubs and brewing business in Scotland and the Loch Fyne seafood restaurant chain. In the half-year to 18 October 2009, it reported pre-tax profits of £62.4m on turnover of £464.5m.
Rooney Anand - Career guide
Rooney Anand, who was born in Delhi, moved to Walsall in the West Midlands when he was two years old. Before joining Greene King, Anand spent 13 years in the food industry.
Anand worked at Terry’s Confectionery and McVitie's before he moved to Sara Lee Bakery, where he worked for five years as marketing director, general manager retail and, from October 1999, managing director.
Anand joined Greene King in August 2001 as managing director of its brewing division and was appointed chief executive in May 2005.
Rooney Anand – What we think
If any eyebrows were raised in the sometimes-traditional brewing community when Rooney Anand, with his background in consumer goods, was put in charge of Greene King’s beer operation in 2001, they were quickly lowered again.
Brewers traditionally saw beer as a commodity, to be turned out by the brewery and sold through tied pubs as quickly as possible - never mind the quality, measure the barrelage. Anand recognised that beers such as Greene King IPA and Abbot Ale were genuine brands that, with the right nurture and support, could flourish.
It was a market where national ale brands such as Worthington’s and Tetley had passed into the hands of global brewers disinclined to support them, and the national estates which had sold those beers were being broken up and sold to the new breed of pubcos. Anand seized the opportunity, continually increasing volumes of Greene King’s core brands against the backdrop of a declining real ale market in the UK. By the mid-2000s, Greene King IPA was the UK’s best-selling cask ale brand.
Anand’s appointment as chief executive in 2005 gave him overall responsibility for the group’s pub business as well. A series of strategic acquisitions, notably the Belhaven pubs and brewing business in East Lothian, as well as Ridley’s in Essex and Hardys & Hansons in Nottingham, added new ale brands as well as expanding the pub estate. Anand is now at the helm of the UK’s third-biggest pub operator and its biggest integrated brewing and pubs business.
The £68m acquisition of the Loch Fyne seafood restaurant business in 2007 also showed Anand’s firm grasp of the way the wind was blowing – food is the future for pub operators.
Despite this investment in expansion, under Anand’s stewardship Greene King’s financial position is strong enough to allow the acquisition programme to continue through the downturn. A £207m rights issue in 2009 put funds in the war chest, and Greene King has just confirmed a £5.3m deal to acquire four pub-restaurants from Punch Taverns, bringing the number of freehold pubs acquired since the rights issue to 34.
The latest package, says Anand, are in great locations currently trading below their potential. "We expect to convert the sites into our market-leading pub-restaurant brands, Hungry Horse and Eating Inn, further strengthening our position in the UK eating-out market." Keep watching.
Rooney Anand – Further information