BrewDog co-founder James Watt: 'I am not always the best people manager'

BrewDog will work “pause, reflect and learn lessons” after an open letter raised accusations of a toxic attitude and “culture of fear” among employees, co-founder James Watt has said.

Speaking to BBC Good Morning Scotland on Saturday, Mr Watt said he has been reflecting on his leadership style since the letter published online by former staff members in June.

Allan Leighton, the former ASDA and Pandora chief executive announced last week as BrewDog’s new chairman, will “mentor” his leadership, he said.

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“It's fair to say that we haven't always been the best employer we can be, and it's fair to say that some people haven't had a fantastic experience of working in our company,” said Mr Watt.

James Watt, co-founder of Brewdog. Picture: GettyJames Watt, co-founder of Brewdog. Picture: Getty
James Watt, co-founder of Brewdog. Picture: Getty

“We take that feedback fully on board and for us this is an opportunity to... pause, reflect, and work hand in hand with fantastic people who are in our business to learn lessons, make some changes, and make sure that everyone going forward has a fantastic experience working in our company.”

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An aspect of the letter was directed personally to Mr Watt, saying: “It is with you that the responsibility for this rotten culture lies. Your attitude and actions are at the heart of the way BrewDog is perceived, from both inside and out."

Asked about this, Mr Watt said: “I recognise that in the past I've been intense as a people manager.

“I am impatient, I am demanding, I push hard.”

He added: “I heard the feedback and I definitely recognise I am not always the best people manager and I push things hard, which definitely helps at times but definitely can have a bit more balance.”

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