Phil Urban officially took over as the new chief executive of Mitchells & Butlers today following a recent senior management reshuffle at the pub and restaurant giant. He will be paid a basic annual salary of £510,000 to lead the business.
Urban joined M&B in January 2015 as chief operating officer, and was previously managing director at Grosvenor Casinos, a division of Rank Group and chairman of the National Casino Forum.
Prior to that, he was Managing Director for Whitbread’s Pub Restaurant division, and for Scottish and Newcastle Retail’s Restaurants and Accommodation Division.
He replaces Alistair Darby, who stepped down from the board as chief executive on Friday after three years with the firm.
Bob Ivell, non-executive chairman of M&B, said the future leadership of M&B had been considered “very carefully”, adding: “Phil is a strong leader with industry experience and a proven track record of operational delivery, who we are confident will build on the progress made under Alistair.”
Urban said: “I am delighted to become chief executive. Having worked in the business since the start of the year I have seen at first hand the exciting potential of the people, brands and estate of M&B and look forward to leading the business to further growth whilst meeting the challenges ahead.”
Darby’s departure comes after total sales growth for the first 50 weeks of the year was up 7% year-on-year and 1% on a like for like basis.
M&B said it had been hit by a “subdued” market over the summer, with the wet weather exacerbating a slight slowdown in the rate of sales growth. However, it added that it remains confident in its ability to meet the challenges of high consumer expectations and forthcoming cost pressures.
So far this financial year it has opened 14 new sites and converted 48 sites. This includes 38 conversions of Orchid sites to core M&B brands, notably Toby Carvery, Ember Inns, Miller & Carter and Harvester. This programme will continue into next year with a further 40 conversions and the remainder of the sites being integrated into the Heartland estate.