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Mon 14th Jan 2019 - Andrew Stones and Toby Rolph to step down at Be At One as brand aligns to Stonegate structure
Andrew Stones and Toby Rolph to step down at Be At One as brand aligns to Stonegate structure: Managing director Andrew Stones and financial director Toby Rolph are to step down at specialist cocktail bar operator Be At One as the brand aligns to the structure of owner Stonegate Pub Company, Propel has learned. Stones has resigned to take up a position with private equity firm Imbiba and will leave the business at the end of April. Stones will not be replaced as managing director, although Sarah Miller will join the business as operations director on Monday, 4 February. She will report to Helen Charlesworth, Stonegate managing director of the company's branded bars and venues division, and will manage the Be At One area management team. Miller joins from Novus, which Stonegate also acquired in July, where she was also operations director. In an internal memo from Stonegate Pub Company chief executive Simon Longbottom, seen by Propel, other significant changes to Be At One’s leadership team include operations director Adam Gregory becoming director of new openings. In the memo, Stonegate said it had identified an “exciting expansion plan for the brand” that would be rolled out during the next 18 months. The memo states: “We acquired Be At One in July 2018. As well as complementing our multi-format, drink-led strategy, the brand also provided the opportunity for us to operate in the rapidly growing premium cocktail market. As a result, we have spent the last six months ensuring we fully understand the Be At One business, what makes it unique, and its culture and people. We’ve also had the chance to identify an exciting expansion plan for the brand, which we will roll out over the next 18 months. Having completed this evaluation, we are now in a position to start the process of integrating some elements of the support provided to the Be At One brand into the Stonegate operating model. In doing so, we have been mindful of the unique nature of the Be At One offer and will leave in place elements of the existing support structure required to deliver the brand-critical elements of its offer. At the same time, there are integration synergies that will reflect the common and simplified business processes and structures we implemented across Stonegate via Project Faraday last year.” A table in the memo summarises those elements of “support” that will be integrated into Stonegate and those that will remain “specifically aligned” to the Be At One brand. Those that will be integrated into Stonegate’s support model include all finance analysis and support; payroll; procurement and supply chain management; drinks range evolution; and management development. Integration of those elements are scheduled to complete by the end of April. Elements that will align specifically to Be At One will include a dedicated area management team; bartender recruitment and training; and brand development. Be At One’s head office in Putney will close in April, with a “small satellite office” created above one of Stonegate’s London sites. It is thought the proposed changes will result in about 13 redundancies among Be At One’s support teams, with individual consultations already under way. Longbottom continued: “Andrew has done an outstanding job as managing director for the business and has been fully supportive over the past six months. I would like to thank him and wish him every success in the future. We have got to know Sarah well over recent months via our acquisition of 15 sites from Novus, and I know she is a fantastic addition to the Stonegate leadership team. We have just completed an outstanding period of festive trading in which we grew like-for-like sales by 7.8% in December. Be At One led the way within Stonegate with like-for-like growth of 15%. This is sector-leading performance and reflects the success of our multi-format drinks-led strategy, and also highlights what a fantastic acquisition Be At One has been. The changes will strike the appropriate balance in integrating certain elements of the Be At One business while retaining dedicated brand support to those elements of the offer that are driving its success and which will also enable the rapid expansion of the brand. Above all, it is a further stage in us realising our vision of being the best drink-led managed operator of pubs and bars in the UK. 2019 promises to be another exciting year for our wonderful company.”


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