The big interview: Dan Jago

BBR’s new shop at 63 Pall Mall contains a fine wine section


Dan says within these guiderails he is “free to do what I think is right within the business operationally and culturally, but the family is incredibly supportive. You would have to ask them if they are pleased with the progress, but I think they are. My job is to make the business fit for the next 300 years; that requires change.”

Does Dan see himself staying at BBR for the long term? He is someone who has shown great loyalty to his employers – his CV, while impressive, contains few changes.

“I’ve only had four jobs in my life. OK, so I spent two years at Laytons, but that basically doesn’t count. I was in the Royal Navy, at Bibendum and Tesco, and now I’ve got my fourth job. It’s quite amateurish compared with modern millennials who would have had four jobs by time they are 22; I’m pathetic,” he smiles.

Despite being at BBR for less than two years, he has turned around the company.

A combination of streamlining the business while expanding its scope, has put it in the black, and, although there have been a number of staff changes since he joined, particularly at a senior level, he points out that he has added to the company, bringing in almost 40 employees.

Finally, for those who think that someone clearly containing a brilliant brain for business such as Dan doesn’t need to push themselves, think again. “I always think I can do better,” he says.

This explains why he spent 16 years at Bibendum and 10 at Tesco. “You stay because you are enjoying it and you are learning. When I get to the stage where I think I can’t learn any more from a job then it is probably time to move on.”

In other words, one can confidently expect Dan, with his ambitions for BBR’s hospitality, retail, e-commerce, spirits, and its performance in the US and Asia, along with new product development, to be at this historic merchant for a long time to come.

(This interview first appeared in the June issue of the drinks business).

(Below and over the following pages are the key facts about BBR, as well as the highlights from Dan’s career and his views on his WSTA chairmanship).

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