James Watt to stand down as BrewDog CEO

James Watt, co-founder and CEO of BrewDog, has decided to step down as chief executive.

James Watt, co-founder and CEO of brewer and bar operator BrewDog, has decided to step down as chief executive of the business he co-founded 17 years ago.

Watt (pictured above left), who will be succeeded by current COO James Arrow, will stay on the BrewDog PLC board in the role of ‘captain and co-founder’ and remains a major shareholder.

"I want to thank all the incredible people who have helped Martin and me create this unique business," says Watt. "I have loved co-founding this amazing business and leading it for the last 17 years. I am excited to take a bit of time off, to travel, to spend more time with my family and friends. I am also looking forward to being able to dedicate some more time to my other business interests."

The new BrewDog CEO

Arrow joined BrewDog from Boots Opticians, where he was managing director, in September 2023. Prior to that he spent a decade at Dixons Carphone in a variety of senior roles including e-commerce, trading, operations, sales and transformation.

"James Arrow is a proven leader,” says Allan Leighton, chair of BrewDog. “His eight months as COO have given him a great insight into the business. The board is delighted to have him as CEO, to lead the company into its next phase of growth.

"James Watt, alongside Martin Dickie, created this great business from a garage in Fraserburgh. Few have accomplished what he has. From very humble beginnings under his leadership BrewDog has grown to become the world’s leading craft brewer, employing 2,530 people across its head office, four breweries and over 120 bars. I am especially pleased he will continue to offer his insight, creative genius and energy to the board. We all wish him every success in his new ventures and in his NED role on the board."

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