After 9 years at the helm of the good ship Punch Taverns, Giles Thorley is resigning hi vastly paid commission in favour of other pursuits.
Punch said it is "well advanced" with the process of finding a successor and that there will be an "orderly transition". So this was already well known within the Punch structure - interesting that!
"Having grown Punch into Britain’s largest pub company, the past two years we have faced the worst recession for a generation and significant structural and political challenges to the industry."
Meaning, having invested heavily in previous years, Giles now leaves the sinking ship which happens to be £3.8bn in debt - with virtually no hope of ever hitting the 'evens-stevens' mark!.
The last 2 years have not been the problem though Giles, the last 32months have! They are the months this business crippling smokeban has been in place-you know the one Giles.
It's the one that you & Ted Tuppen represented the industry at government level but rolled over like 'tickly-tum doggies!
It's the one that guaranteed 68% of your core customers would walk out in disgust. It's the one that you both feared that 'landlocked pubs' might have to close.
It's the one that you lapped up the false promises of 'millions of new clean air customers' would be stampeding the doors.
It's the one that signed the death knell for thousands of pubs & clubs.
It's the one that is crippling the hospitality sector!
While Giles has been reaping vast rewards of position and decision making licensees/tenants have been going bankrupt at an alarming rate, losing their businesses which are also their homes.Many had the pleasure of earning nearly £50 per week for their endeavours!
One couple could not even earn that the week before they closed for ever! Do you remember The Family Tree in Bognor Regis Giles? Do you remember the misery and stress they went through before Peter finally had a massive heart attack and was hospitalised? Do you remember your 'BDM' employing a builder to break in and reclaim the pub - leaving them homeless?
When Punch (& Enterprise) raised no onjection to the implementation of a total indoor smokeban they effectively signed their own death warrants,for this industry will never recover from the onslaught of this legislation. Good solid community pubs are falling like flies as smokers stay away for they simply refuse to enjoy their entertainment in 'shelters' not even deemed fit for pigs. And how much money have tenants had to waste on those less than useless tinpot constructions Giles, only to get less usage than a second hand stamp!
Admiral Taverns have 'released 200 pubs for sale recently. Now why is that Giles/Ted? Perhps it is because they are useless businesses. Perhaps they once flourished as Punch Taverns did. The certainty is that they will no more until all the major players unite and demand the rights we are all afforded under law. Human Rights, Property rights etc.
Chairman Peter Cawdron added: "I would like to thank Giles for his incredible commitment and drive that he has brought to Punch during his time with the business.
His dedication has not waivered during good and bad times and he will leave a business poised to benefit from an improvement in economic conditions."
Committment? Oh yes, committed to destroying our social structure through multiple closures within the Punch empire!
And as for 'leaving a business posed to benefit...' - from what? Aren't words cheap when they suit!
The smokeban has caused the pubco's biggest protection factor to be removed through pending legislation - the Beer Tie. Without the beer tie (sometimd doubling the price of a barrel) pubco's lose their financial safety net. They have one fiesty lady to thank for that little earner going out of the windo - Inez Ward & our sister organisation Justice for Licensees who have cmpaigned tirelessly to get the industry back on track. The beer tie, in truth, was always bubbling away under the surface of discontent but the smokeban exacerbated the problem tenfold! When punters stop attending your bar in their thousands and the beer ceasis to flow, takings plummet yet the bills remain constant. So constant in fact that as soon as the takings don't at least match the expenses pubs are in trouble-bigtime! Mr MicCawber of Dickensian fame springs to mind!
Final thought on the great success of Giles & Punch. Share prices pre ban stood at a proud £13.68p with brokers urging people to buy, buy, buy into the clean air strategy.
Now you can sell, sell, sell at around £0.70p. Very expensive is clean air folks!
Whatever career you move into Giles, please don't make it the pub industry - we do want some left after this government has finished it's evil muck spreading.