Brains Brewery has appointed Alistair Darby chief executive to take over the role from Scott Waddington.
Waddington has been chief executive of the company for 17 years and announced he was stepping down in April. Darby will join the company on 31 July following a comprehensive handover process.
Darby has previously worked as managing director of Camerons Brewery in Hartlepool, chief operating officer of Marston’s and chief executive of Mitchells & Butlers. He will be tasked with the continued development and implementation of Brains’ business plan.
Over the last 18 months, Brains (also known as SA Brain) continued expansion of its Coffee#1 estate, now 90 units strong. It also confirmed a partnership agreement with Rightacres Property to develop Brains’ Crawshay Street site into an estimated 2.5 million sq ft mixed use development that will become Central Quay, meanwhile undertaking a phased move to a new brewery in Pacific Road, Cardiff.
As a consequence, in the financial year to 30 September 2017, group turnover declined by £12m to £123m, with the scheduled end of a major contract brewing arrangement accounting for £13m of year-on-year sales impact.
Gross profit for the year was £15.2m, with the decline in contract brewing accounting for 65% of a £2.6m gross profit reduction, with the remainder being attributable to challenging trading conditions and increasing cost pressures, such as those resulting from well-publicised increases in the National Minimum and Living Wages, food inflation, rates and energy costs.
The year included significant exceptional costs relating to the move to the new site which resulted in an operating loss of £3.9m.
SA Brain Chairman John Rhys said: “I am delighted that we have been able to attract such a high calibre individual as Alistair Darby to lead our independent family company. Working together with Alistair to take Brains forward into a new era for the company is an exciting prospect.
“On behalf of the family and company, I would like to thank Scott for the significant contribution he has made to our business since he joined us in 2001. I have very much enjoyed working with him and wish him every success in his future ventures.”
Darby said: “I am very proud and honoured to be given the opportunity to head up SA Brain, an iconic Welsh company and brand. I am looking forward enormously to working with the Brains family and management team, building on the excellent legacy created by Scott.”