I’ve lost count of the number of interviews I’ve been in where the interviewee reflects on their time at Bass. While fondly regaling on how they made their way to the top of their respective businesses, there is almost always an obligatory mention of the former brewing and pub-operating giant.
The same thing happened when I sat down to talk to Kevin Georgel, CEO of Admiral Taverns, in the City of London last week. Georgel was about to quote Ian Payne, chairman of Stonegate, an old colleague of his when working at you know where. Before Georgel could share Payne’s point on where managed operators seek inspiration from (turn to page 22 to find out), I intervened with a chuckle over just how many business leaders started off in the same place. However, up until now, no one had ever really added any justified clarity to this pool of talent from the past. Georgel pointed out that the reason I encounter so many MDs and CEOs and founders and chairmen all from the same stem is down to how efficient and dedicated Bass was in developing future leaders. It wasn’t just a case of showing the likes of Payne, Emeny, Swaine et al how to run sites, but more how to run companies. Just look where they are now.
In fact, I attended a talk given by Jonathon Swaine, MD of Fuller’s Inns, at a recent Arena event in Chiswick. Like most pub company bosses, he recognised that initially attracting talent into pubs is as tough as it has ever been. But after that, Swaine introduced a few members of the audience to the Arena guests. These were people that had been through the ranks in various divisions at Fuller’s, showcasing what strong career paths and leadership positions there are to be taken in this vital industry and what Fuller’s is doing to nurture and develop those right for the roles.
Georgel has the same mentality. He knows how important it is to encourage those with passion, ideas and motivation to run their own businesses, whether that’s a multi-site operation or a local community pub. The evolution of the on-trade has seen many Bass graduates go on to great things – it’s now down to those in charge to develop some future leaders of their own.
Tristan O'Hana - Group Editor