Business Irish

Wednesday 25 April 2018

Newsmaker: Stephen Glancey

Stephen Glancey has recently faced difficulties
Stephen Glancey has recently faced difficulties Newsdesk Newsdesk

Chief executives are well paid, and for good reason. When they perform, the company's investors usually reap the benefit, with a higher share price, greater dividends, and the reflected glory of being involved in a successful firm.

In the bad times though, chief executives can see sentiment turn against them perhaps quicker than they may have thought possible.

Take C&C boss Stephen Glancey, for example. When he took over from John Dunsmore in the top job back in 2012, things seemed relatively rosy in the company's garden.

Now though, after a disastrous foray in the United States, a failed attempt to buy a pub network in the UK, and a share price that has fallen 20pc in the past 18 months, he finds himself in the difficult position of having to convince a sceptical market that he has the company on the right path for the future.

Already, he is under pressure from an activist investor - never a good place for a PLC boss to be. Earlier this month it emerged that New York hedge fund Orange Capital had built up a near 5pc stake in C&C. The fund wants Mr Glancey to abandon his plans for international expansion and instead focus on its core UK and Ireland markets. It also wants C&C to take on more debt to fund a share buyback.

All in all then, Mr Glancey will have to perform well when he announces C&C's interim results on Wednesday. Analysts aren't expecting the results to be particularly strong. Davy's Cathal Kenny is expecting half-year revenue to be down 2pc year-on-year and EBIT to be off by as much as 10pc.

Even taking into account the cold summer - C&C loves to blame the weather when its numbers don't come out as planned - those forecasts are still pretty poor. Expect the likes of Orange Capital to take the results as evidence of the failed strategy from the chief executive.

In a way though, the results themselves won't matter too much. The key thing will be what Mr Glancey says. Will his plan for the company be seen as being credible? The US business cost C&C over $300m and has been an abject failure up to now. What is he going to do to fix that market, or will he take Orange's advice and cut his losses?

Mr Glancey retains the full confidence of the C&C board, but that is a nebulous concept that can change very quickly. As any football manager will tell you, "full support" can disappear in an instant.

Irish Independent

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