Brewdog chief to takeover Stonegate pub group

Popworld, Birmingham. Credit: Google Maps

Solihull-headquartered Stonegate has announced that David McDowall, BrewDog’s president and chief operating officer, has quit to join the group as CEO.

McDowall will take over from current CEO Simon Longbottom in early 2023, with both working together to ensure a smooth transition, with Longbottom leaving the business in February 2023. He will remain a shareholder.

Stonegate was formed in 2010, following the acquisition of 333 pubs from Mitchell & Butlers and has since grown to operate 4,500 pubs nationwide, including huge brands such as Popworld, Slug and Lettuce and Be At One. After purchasing Ei Group for £1.27bn in 2020, it became the largest pub company in the UK.

David McDowall said: “Stonegate is an outstanding business, with a clear strategy, highly capable management team and hugely exciting future. I am passionate about pubs and the wider brewing sector and am looking forward to be joining the team and further unlocking the clear potential of this great business.”

Simon Longbottom commented: “It has been an honour to lead the team which has taken Stonegate from a challenger brand to industry leader in just eight years. From our pubs and bars to our people, the talent, passion and pride within the business is second-to- none and I have every confidence there are even more exciting times to come.

“It’s been an amazing journey but the time is now right for me to pursue other interests abroad. As a shareholder and a fan, I will be supporting the business from afar and wish Ian, David and the wider team continued success.”

Ian Payne, Chairman of Stonegate Group, said: “The Board would like to thank Simon for his significant contribution to the Group’s success over the last eight years. During this time, Simon has been a much valued member of the senior team in building Stonegate Group into the leading pub and bar business which it is today.

“Looking to the future, Simon leaves Stonegate in excellent health and trading extremely well. The Board is confident that David will continue to drive Stonegate forward and take advantage of the many opportunities ahead.”