The former chief executive and chairman of Sunderland’s Vaux Brewery, Sir Paul Nicholson, has pinpointed who – in his opinion – was to blame for the company’s demise.
In excess of 600 jobs were lost when the brewery closed four years ago after a proposed management buy-out to save the firm was rejected and Sir Paul told the BBC, “It should never have happened. There should still be a brewery here and there could have been a brewery here employing hundreds of people and contributing to the economic life of Sunderland.”
Sir Paul, a third-generation member of the founding family, has had his memoirs published, and The Publican magazine says he apportions the blame largely – although not totally – towards Martin Grant who was chief executive for a short time before the company was broken up.
Nicholson says in his book “Brewer at Bay”, “The only idea he (Grant) could come up with was we should close the breweries and buy from outside suppliers for our pub estate. It quickly became apparent that the new chief executive was very opposed to retaining the breweries and was prepared to use almost any means to frustrate their survival.”
And he quotes from a letter he received from a former PR adviser to Vaux, with a damning view of why the company was broken up: “What struck me was that the values the company had worked so hard to instil and live up to – transparency, openness, believing in people, care of the community – all seemed to be sacrificed on the grubby altar of spurious shareholder value.”
Copies of the book are available from The Memoir Club in Spennymoor (tel 01388 811747), all profits go to charity.