Alistair Darby named chief executive of Sir Richard Sutton Limited

11 September 2023 by
Alistair Darby named chief executive of Sir Richard Sutton Limited

The former boss of Welsh brewer SA Brain is to take over as chief executive of Sir Richard Sutton Limited (SRSL), the group which owns luxury hotels, farming and property interests in the UK and USA.

Alistair Darby, who is currently chair of the Wales Business Council, will start in the role on 1 December following a handover process.

He will take the reins from Christopher Lacey, who is stepping down from the chief executive role after 12 years.

The SRSL manages and owns a portfolio including the Athenaeum Hotel in London's Mayfair and the boutique Sutton Hotel Collection, which includes the Francis hotel in Bath, the Castle hotel in Windsor and the Queens hotel in Cheltenham.

A highly experienced business leader, Darby held various senior roles at Marston's brewery from 2002 to 2012 including chief operating officer and managing director of its pub and beer divisions.

He was chief executive of Mitchells & Butlers from 2012 to 2015 where he oversaw a growth in revenue and profits across its 1,800 UK restaurants and pubs.

Darby joined Welsh brewer SA Brain as chief executive in 2018 and helped steer the business through the pandemic, during which it came under significant financial pressure. Under his leadership, the group struck a deal for Wolverhampton-based Marston's to take over the running of its 156 pubs, saving over 1,000 jobs.

Darby stepped down from Brains in 2021 and was most recently chief executive of menopause clinic Newson Health Group, where he doubled turnover and profit.

Peter Wyman, chairman of SRSL, said: "I have been deeply impressed with Alistair's experience at the highest levels of business, his acumen as a transformational leader and his expertise in hospitality.

"These skills, and Alistair's knowledge of working within family-owned businesses such as SRSL, will be invaluable as he helps us to grow the group further in the medium-to-longer term.

"We wish Alistair many congratulations but also thank Christopher Lacey, the outgoing CEO, who has delivered so much value during his tenure."

Darby said he was confident SRSL could continue growing in the hospitality, farming and property sectors and was looking forward "to the immense challenge of the years ahead".

Lacey added: "It has been a privilege to lead SRSL over the last decade and I have no doubt that Alistair and the senior team will lead the group from strength to strength in the coming years. I leave with many happy memories and achievements and will follow the group's future success with great interest."

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