Rooney, who graduated with a MBA from Aston in 1988 and grew up in nearby Walsall, was presented with the honorary doctorate at the graduation ceremony which took place at Birmingham Town Hall.
Throughout this week, more than 1,800 students from across Aston’s four schools will receive their degrees, including 23 honorary degrees awarded to prominent Aston graduates, luminaries and leading figures from throughout the university’s history.
Rooney is chief executive of Greene King plc, which has over 3,000 pubs, hotels and restaurants across England, Wales and Scotland. The company employs 44,000 people and operates brands including Hungry Horse, Farmhouse Inns, Chef & Brewer, Flaming Grill, Loch Fyne and Greene King Local Pubs.
Following the acquisition of Spirit Pub Company last year, the company’s retail business is now located in Burton Upon Trent.
After joining Greene King in 2001 as a board director and managing director of the brewing division, Rooney was appointed chief executive in 2005. Under his leadership the company has benefited from a period of significant growth; going from 800 pubs to over 3000 pubs and sales of £733m to £2bn.
Rooney is also a senior independent director of William Morrison Supermarkets plc and chairman of Purity Soft Drinks, a private equity-backed consumer goods business, based in the West Midlands.
On receiving the honorary doctorate Rooney said: “It is an honour to receive this doctorate in Aston University’s 50th anniversary year. Aston is a world-class business school and set me up well for my career. I have fond memories of studying there and still visit the region regularly for business and to visit family and friends. “With our retail company now based in Burton Upon Trent, Greene King is a big employer in the Midlands region and I’m looking forward to strengthening links with Aston University to help with our future talent pipeline.” Click below to sign up for daily regional business updates
“With our retail company now based in Burton Upon Trent, Greene King is a big employer in the Midlands region and I’m looking forward to strengthening links with Aston University to help with our future talent pipeline.”
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