Brewdog CEO departs from role after 17 years

By Gwen Ridler

- Last updated on GMT

James Arrow (pictured) is the new CEO of Brewdog
James Arrow (pictured) is the new CEO of Brewdog

Related tags appointments

Brewdog has appointed James Arrow as its new chief executive, succeeding co-founder James Watt, as part of the brewer’s succession plan put in place last year.

Watt steps down from the role 17 years after he co-founded the business. He will stay on the board in the role of ‘captain & co-founder’ and remains a major shareholder.

Commenting on the change in leadership, Brewdog chair Allan Leighton said: “James Watt spoke to me last year about continuing to play a role with the business while freeing up time to concentrate on his other projects and interests.

“We subsequently put in place a succession plan by recruiting James Arrow as COO ​[chief operating officer] and strengthening the wider senior leadership team.”

Professional history

Arrow joined the brewer as chief operating officer from Boots Opticians in September 2023,​where he was managing director. Prior to his time with Boots, he spent a decade at Dixons Carphone in a number of senior roles across e-commerce, trading, operations and sales and transformation.

Last year also saw Brewdog appoint Chris Fielden as its first supply chain officer,​in charge of all aspects of sourcing, production, packaging and distribution for the drinks firm’s beers and spirits.

“James Arrow is a proven leader,”​ Leighton added. “His eight months as COO have given him a great insight into the business. The Board is delighted to have him as CEO, to lead the company into its next phase of growth.”

Brewdog employs 2,530 people across its head office, four breweries and more than 120 bars. Last month saw its Black Heart ​beer ranked as the UK’s second most popular stout,​according to Nielsen data.

Journey with Brewdog

James Watt said: “I want to thank all the incredible people who have helped Martin and me create this unique business. I have loved co-founding this amazing business and leading it for the last 17 years.

“I am excited to take a bit of time off, to travel, to spend more time with my family and friends. I am also looking forward to being able to dedicate some more time to my other business interests.”

Meanwhile, John West Foods has announced the appointment of Kate Willoughby as its new commercial director.

Related topics People & Skills Drinks

Related news

Show more

Follow us

Featured Jobs

View more


Food Manufacture Podcast

Listen to the Food Manufacture podcast