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Thu 27th Aug 2015 - M&B ends flagship Celtic Manor awards
Mitchells & Butlers ends Celtic Manor awards nights as it evolves awards scheme: Mitchells & Butlers (M&B) has ended its long-standing series of awards nights held at Celtic Manor, which have traditionally seen key staff from its 16 brands gather over five nights at the Welsh five star resort. A spokesman for M&B told Propel: “We have taken the opportunity to evolve our PRIDE Awards this year and will be embracing new technology to deliver the conference in a digital format through a series of regional roadshow events. This interactive approach is a more effective and personal way to engage with our 1,700 general managers.” Chief executive Alistair Darby added: “We want speed and flexibility and to be more innovative in our approach across all areas of our business including internal communication. Adapting the PRIDE awards to a new format gives us the opportunity to be more efficient and effective.” One person at M&B who may miss the annual Celtic Manor get-together, which began more than a decade ago, is chairman Bob Ivell, who set out how important the event had been to his gaining an understanding of staff feeling when he first arrived at the business in 2011. He told City analysts in 2011 that for the first time the entire M&B board had decamped to the Celtic Manor awards week on the basis that it’s a golden opportunity to spend a lot of time with the people who actually run the company’s pubs. “It’s the first time the board had ever attended and talked to the troops. It didn’t happen in the old days – a reflection of the culture of the business,” said Ivell. One former senior M&B executive told Propel: “Good companies are great at celebrating success – the big benefit of the Celtic Manor awards were that it was a terrific bonding exercise that left staff going back to their sites energised. There were always arguments about whether partners were invited and that sort of nonsense, of course. Alistair may well be evolving the awards process to take advantage of the benefits provided by technology advances, but the danger is that the magic, the personality and the theatre of Celtic Manor is lost in favour of a skimping regional exercise.”

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