British pub operator Marston's has said that Ralph Findlay intends to step down as its chief executive later this year, approximately two decades after he took the helm.
The brewer of Pedigree, Hobgoblin and Lancaster Bomber beer said that Findlay will step down at the end of the financial year on September 30 and a process to appoint his successor is underway.
The news of his departure comes about a month after Marston's rejected as too low a £666 million takeover proposal from US private equity firm Platinum Equity Advisors.
"We expect the position to attract strong talent from both internal and external candidates," Liberum analyst Anna Barnfather said, describing the timing of Findlay's departure as "a natural stepping off point".
Findlay, 60, steered the company through the COVID-19 pandemic, which has battered the hospitality industry with repeated closures and caused Marston's to cut approximately 2,150 jobs.
The pub group, the shares of which fell 41% in 2020, posted an annual loss last year before having to shut its pubs again under Britain's third lockdown.
But the two century old brewer also embarked on deals during the period, including a joint venture with the British division of Danish brewer Carlsberg and a deal to operate 156 SA Brain pubs in Wales.
Liberum's Barnfather said that this positions the pub business well to emerge from the current lockdown and rebuild trading.
Additional Findlay Information
Findlay joined the board in 1996 as finance director and assumed his duties as CEO in 2001. He is also a senior independent director at Vistry Group and a director of the British Beer and Pub Association.