Joe Lewis wins battle over board at M&B

UK pub group Mitchells & Butlers' largest shareholder Joe Lewis and other rebel investors yesterday succeeded in ousting company's chairman Simon Laffin and installing four new independent board members. John Lovering, the leaving chairman of retailer Debenhams, has been named as company's new chairman.

Mr. Lovering was one of four independent board members who were earlier nominated by Piedmont investment vehicle, which is owned by billionaire Mr. Lewis. Mr. Lewis has around 23 per cent stake in M&B. After appointment, Mr. Lovering said, "We will conduct a thorough review of the business, which will be presented to all shareholders by the end of March.

" Piedmont's other nominees, Simon Burke, Michael Balfour and Jeremy Blood were also elected. Piedmont had been involved in a row with the pub group M&B amagement.

The row between the two sides widened after Mr. Laffin removed two non-executive Piedmont board members, accusing them of not working in shareholders' interest. On the other hand, Piedmont accused M&B board of failing shareholders.