Vue screens former Rank chief Birch for boardroom post
Vue International, the independent cinema giant, will this week name the former boss of Very, the online shopping group, to its board.
Sky News understands that Henry Birch, who was also chief executive of casino operator Rank Group and William Hill Online, will join Vue as a non-executive director.
Katrina Cliffe, a former American Express and Lloyds Banking Group executive, is also joining Vue's board.
The appointments come just months after the cinema operator hired Stella David, a former Bacardi-Martini executive, as its new chair, marking the end of a complex financial restructuring.
One analyst said the new recruits pointed to Vue's new owners having an eye on a medium-term exit either through a sale or stock market flotation.
Vue recently completed a debt-for-equity swap which saw its long-standing pension fund shareholders replaced as the company's owners.
Vue operates more than 225 sites in nine countries, including the UK, Germany, Italy and Taiwan.
Its restructuring was triggered by a torrid period for the cinema industry, with the pandemic having decimated income and studios increasingly experimenting with the release of films on streaming services.
In recent months, Vue had lined up backing from its new shareholders for a tilt at Cineworld, its London-listed rival which has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.
Vue, however, found itself frozen out of the sale process, which has now been aborted.
Cineworld's shareholders have been warned that their investment is likely to be worthless.
In the UK, Vue ranks behind only Cineworld and Odeon by number of sites.
It remains unclear how long Vue's new owners - its current lenders - will seek to retain control before selling or floating the company.
Tim Richards, Vue's founder and CEO, said the new directors' experience would be "hugely valuable as we continue to build on our steady recovery and ensure we're well-placed for the future".