Marston hires new brands chief following restructure

Marston Thompson & Evershed, the Burton-based regional brewer and pub owner, has hired Premier Brands marketer John Steel as director of brands marketing.

Marston Thompson & Evershed, the Burton-based regional brewer and pub owner, has hired Premier Brands marketer John Steel as director of brands marketing.

The move comes after a restructuring of the company’s business units, which has split management of beer brands from the estate of just under 900 pubs. The restructure co-incides with speculation, denied by the company, that it may put its beer brands up for sale.

Under the changes, the business has been divided into three units – corporate services; retail, headed by group managing director David Gordon; and brewing and trading, led by Stephen Oliver as managing director. Oliver previously held the position of brands marketing director.

Steel, who takes over Oliver’s remit and will report to him, joins on February 2. Steel says: “There is a strong brand equity in Pedigree and Marston’s…my role is to continue strong development of the brands.” He will work with agency TBWA Simons Palmer, which handles advertising for the brands.

Steel has worked at Premier Brands for two years in the biscuit division, which has now been split off under the name Horizon Biscuits. He previously worked for Weetabix.

Steel joins a brewing division which saw operating profits almost double to 2.4m in the half-year to the end of September, out of Marston’s total operating profits of 18.7m for the period.

One reason for the increase in the division’s profitability was a cut of 800,000 in the brands’ advertising spend.

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