Vue International, the independent cinema operator, has appointed Henry Birch and Katrina Cliffe to its board as non-executive directors.

Birch is the former CEO of Very, an online shopping group, and has also held executive positions at Rank Group and William Hill Online.

Cliffe is a former executive at American Express and Lloyds Banking Group.

The appointments follow the hiring of Stella David, a former Bacardi-Martini executive, as Vue’s new chair earlier this year, marking the end of a complex financial restructuring.

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Vue’s restructuring was triggered by the pandemic, which decimated the cinema industry’s income, and studios increasingly experimenting with the release of films on streaming services.

The company recently completed a debt-for-equity swap that saw its long-standing pension fund shareholders replaced by its new owners.

Vue operates more than 225 sites in nine countries, including the UK, Germany, Italy, and Taiwan.

According to an analyst, the new recruits indicate that Vue’s new owners have an eye on a medium-term exit, either through a sale or stock market flotation. In recent months,

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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.

However, Vue found itself frozen out of the sale process, which has now been aborted, and 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 the 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.

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Tim Richards, Vue’s founder and CEO, said that 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.”

The appointments of Birch and Cliffe add significant expertise to Vue’s board. Birch has experience in e-commerce, gaming, and online gambling, while Cliffe has worked in financial services, risk management, and governance.

Vue’s board has now been strengthened with expertise from a wide range of industries, which will be critical in navigating the cinema industry’s current challenges.

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Overall, Vue’s restructuring has been a difficult process, but the appointments of experienced executives like Birch and Cliffe indicate that the company’s new owners are committed to its long-term success.

With the pandemic still affecting the cinema industry, Vue will need to continue to adapt and innovate to remain competitive.

However, with a strong board and a renewed focus on growth, the company is well-placed to weather the storm and emerge as a leader in the cinema industry.

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