Ted Tuppen to step down as Enterprise Inns chief

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Enterprise Inns founder and chief executive Ted Tuppen to retire after 22 years in charge of the pub group

Ted Tuppen, the founder and chief executive of Enterprise Inns, has announced he will finally step down from Britain’s largest pub landlord next year.

Mr Tuppen, 61, created Enterprise in 1991 through a management buy-in of around 370 pubs from Bass and floated the company on the London stock exchange in 1995.

He will be replaced by Simon Townsend, currently chief operating officer of Enterprise, who has been with the company for 13 years.

Enterprise, like its main rival Punch Taverns (Other OTC: PCTVF - news) , grew rapidly in the nineties and early 2000s through a series of debt-fuelled acquisitions, such as its £609m deal for the Unique Pub Company in 2004.

However, the group ran into trouble during the financial crisis and was for several years considered to be a “zombie” company, which was crippled by high debt repayments and unable to grow.

Geof Collyer, research analyst at Deutsche Bank (LSE: 0H7D.L - news) , said Mr Tuppen’s decision to step down was a sign that Enterprise is finally back on the right track.

“We have always thought that if the CEO was to retire, it would be once the business had been nursed back to good health, and therefore we see the timing of this move as a broad confirmation of this view,” Mr Collyer said in a note.

Mr Tuppen’s resignation was announced alongside full-year results, which showed like-for-like net income grew 0.6pc in the final quarter, although it was down 2.9pc overall for 12 months to September 30.

Shares rose as much as 8.7pc on Tuesday morning following the announcement.

The pubs boss, who has been selling off sites, has also recently come under pressure from campaigners, who are urging the Government to push through proposals for a statutory code and powerful new organisation to police the relationship between pub companies and their tenants.

Mr Tuppen said: “I have thoroughly enjoyed my time at Enterprise and I am immensely proud of what we have achieved. It has been a privilege to work with such a great team of colleagues and I am thankful to them all for their support and hard work over the years.

"I am confident that under Simon’s leadership, the company is in very good hands for the future.”