BrewDog boss orders independent review and takes ‘100%’ blame for ‘toxic culture’

Brewdog co-founders James Watt and Martin Dickie

BrewDog has announced plans to launch an independent review into allegations of a ‘rotten culture’ at the business, with co-founder James Watt apologising for a series of mistakes saying it was ‘100% my fault’ after he was the main target of a critical open letter from former employees, which described a ‘culture of fear’ at the company.

In a letter to staff,  Watt said. “I know the events from the past few days have caused a lot of pain for all of our team members and our community and I can only apologise for that. I am ultimately responsible for the culture of our business. The letter that ex-colleagues wrote to us is 100% my fault.

“To all of the signatories and to all of our team and community who were affected by the letter, I am sorry. I want to be very candid about some mistakes that I have made that have detrimentally impacted our culture. In the hard and fast environment of high growth, I have all too often neglected many important people elements of our business.

“We are also very close to appointing an independent agency to conduct a review of our culture and people practices to ensure we can make positive and inclusive change at all levels of our business. We’ll share the high-level findings of the review internally and externally before the end of the year and as part of the process and we will also reach out to the people who signed that letter to give them a voice. We will move quickly, but we also want to take the time to get this right.”

The open letter, from a group of former employees calling themselves Punks with Purpose, accused Watt of propagating a culture of fear that had left many former workers ‘burnt out, afraid and miserable.’.

In response to Watt’s latest statement, it said. “While we hope this statement can bring some measure of closure to former staff, we have seen hollow apologies in the past. We are not going away.”

The number of former BrewDog staff who have signed the open letter has grown from 60 to more than 300 since it was first published last week.


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