M&B chairman likens boardroom spat to a John Grisham novel

25 January 2010 by
M&B chairman likens boardroom spat to a John Grisham novel

Mitchells & Butlers chairman Simon Laffin has likened the ongoing spat between the company's board and its major shareholders to "a John Grisham novel".

Laffin, who has a background at Mars and was drafted in as a new director in the face of the Northern Rock collapse, told the Observer newspaper, "It has got billionaire tax exiles, faraway places, horseracing connections and a glamorous location. And those forces are ranged against me and a plucky board in Birmingham.

Laffin stepped up to become M&B's chairman after Piedmont, the investment vehicle owned by Bahamas-based billionaire Joe Lewis, blocked the appointment first of Archie Norman and then former Hamleys boss Simon Burke last year.

Laffin's appointment saw the removal of several directors linked to Lewis, and the company referred the matter to the Takeover Panel amid fears that shareholders were acting in concert to take over the business without making a bid. However the Takeover Panel ruled that there was no evidence that Piedmont and Elpida, owned by Irish tycoons JP McManus and John Magnier, acted in concert.

The article also reported that Laffin has regularly had his home and offices in London and Birmingham swept for listening devices, although nothing has been found.

Lewis is understood to have a series of complaints about the current management of M&B, accusing it of wasting money on central overheads and doubling the pensions of departing directors.

But Laffin described the accusations as "complete nonsense" and "crap".

Investor issues alert over failure of corporate governance at Mitchells & Butlers >>

Investor and MPs wade into Mitchells & Butlers boardroom battle >>
Leading pub and restaurant groups boost December sales >>

By Neil Gerrard

E-mail your comments to Neil Gerrard here.

If you have something to say on this story or anything else join the debate at Table Talk - Caterer's new networking forum. Go to www.caterersearch.com/tabletalk

Caterersearch.com jobs
Looking for a new job? Find your next pub job here with Caterersearch.com jobs

Blogs on Caterersearch.com](http://www.caterersearch.com/blogs) Catch up with more news and gossip on all Caterer's blogs
[Newsletters For the latest hospitality news, sign up for our e-mail newsletters.
The Caterer Breakfast Briefing Email

Start the working day with The Caterer’s free breakfast briefing email

Sign Up and manage your preferences below

Check mark icon
Thank you

You have successfully signed up for the Caterer Breakfast Briefing Email and will hear from us soon!

Jacobs Media Group is honoured to be the recipient of the 2020 Queen's Award for Enterprise.

The highest official awards for UK businesses since being established by royal warrant in 1965. Read more.


Ad Blocker detected

We have noticed you are using an adblocker and – although we support freedom of choice – we would like to ask you to enable ads on our site. They are an important revenue source which supports free access of our website's content, especially during the COVID-19 crisis.

trade tracker pixel tracking