Caterer and Hotelkeeper 100: Roger Whiteside, Punch Taverns

06 December 2012
Caterer and Hotelkeeper 100: Roger Whiteside, Punch Taverns

Overall ranking: 81 (NEW ENTRY)
Pub ranking: 11 (NEW ENTRY)

Roger Whiteside - Snapshot

Roger Whiteside was appointed chief executive officer of Punch Taverns in August 2011, following the demerger of leased and tenanted pub business Punch from managed pub operation Spirit Pub Company.

Established in 1997 through the acquisition of the former Bass leased estate, Punch Taverns expanded to become, alongside Enterprise Inns, one of the biggest operators in the pub industry. Punch is also a 50 per cent stakeholder in drinks wholesaler Matthew Clark.

Roger Whiteside - Career guide

Before becoming chief executive of Punch in August 2011, following the Spirit demerger, Roger Whiteside, 55, was managing director of Punch Partnerships, the leased division of the group. He has a strong retail background, having begun his career at Marks and Spencer, where he spent 20 years and rose to become head of food.

In 2000, he became part of the founding management team at pioneering online grocery retailer Ocado, serving as joint managing director from 2000 to 2004. Whiteside was chief executive of off-licence chain Thresher Group from 2004 to 2007. He is also a non-executive director of bakery business Greggs.

Roger Whiteside - What we think

At the same time, Punch is still dealing with the aftermath of the 2009 Commons Business and Enterprise Committee investigation into the tied pub sector, which saw the pubcos forced to defend their business model and their treatment of tenants.

When Punch and Spirit were demerged 2011, one of the aims was to protect the value for shareholders in the managed and profitable leased pubs that went into the Spirit business. For Roger Whiteside and the Punch senior management team, the challenge is to move the remaining estate to a viable business of around 3,000 core pubs, which remains very much a work in progress.

The programme of pub disposals, both to trade buyers and for redevelopment continues, and there are still some difficult conversations to be had with some major shareholders and bankers.

The upside is that Whiteside knows retail inside out, and it is the integration of retail disciplines into the tenanted pub model that will make the difference.

There are positive signs. An on-going programme of pub improvements saw £38 million invested in 400 core pubs in the year to August, and crucially the mix of food sales across the estate was up 3 percentage points to 24 per cent. There was a 25 per cent increase in applicant numbers, with a growing number of multiple operators taking on Punch pubs.

While some in the City remain sceptical,Whiteside says the business is*"making good progress towards our long term objective to become the UK's highest quality, most trusted and best value leased pub company." The challenge is whether the Punch team will be given the time needed to make the strategy work.*" target="_blank" rel="noreferrer">
Punch sees profits decline as it enters restructuring talks >>**

Punch blames poor April weather for net income drop>>

Punch Taverns website >>

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