- Andrew Andrea exits suddenly
- Justin Platt to start in January
- Platt formerly at Merlin Entertainment
Pub group Marston’s (MARS) has announced chief executive and company veteran Andrew Andrea is stepping down with immediate effect to be replaced by Justin Platt, who was most recently Chief Strategy Officer at Merlin Entertainments.
Platt is due to take up the CEO role on 10 January 2024 with the executive team reporting directly to chairman William Rucker in the short interim period.
No explanation was given for Andrea’s sudden departure, but the company said he will be available for a period to ensure a smooth handover of responsibilities.
Marston’s shares fell 2% to 32p taking in loss for the year to around 18%.
Andrea has worked at Marston’s for over 20 years, taking over the top job in 2021 from Ralph Findley who was in the role for two decades.
Meanwhile, Platt has more than 30-years’ experience in hospitality and consumer-facing businesses.
The company said: ‘Justin's combination of operational and strategic experience in multi-site leisure businesses equips him perfectly to lead Marston's through the next phase of its development.’
WHAT ARE THE EXPERTS SAYING?
AJ Bell investment director Russ Mould commented: ‘The immediate departure of a chief executive is never a good look, particularly one who has only been in the role for two years as we’ve just seen with Marston’s.
‘It suggests the board of directors want someone more dynamic and there is no point waiting around for the outgoing person to serve their notice period.
‘What’s interesting in this situation is how we’re not seeing a CEO leave because of fundamental problems in the business. Marston’s has always been a ‘steady as she goes’ type of business, so to bring in someone from outside the pub sector to run it implies a shift in thinking.’
Shore Capital's leisure analyst Greg Johnson said: ‘Mr Andrea has spent over 20 years at Marston’s, having helped steer the group through the pandemic, with infectious enthusiasm, including the strategically important transaction with Carlsberg, and leaves the business in robust operational shape.
‘Mr Platt has plenty on his in tray but notably with many levers to pull.’
In a trading update on 11 October the company said it was targeting a 2% improvement in margins over the next two to three years.
Disclaimer: Financial services company AJ Bell referenced in the article owns Shares magazine. The author of the article (Martin Gamble) and the editor of the article (Ian Conway) own shares in AJ Bell.
LEARN MORE ABOUT MARSTON’S