Ian Payne MBE, 70, has informed the Board of his decision to retire at the end of January 2024 and step down from his role with the group after thirteen years.
Ian has enjoyed a long and distinguished career in the licensed trade over the past 50 years. He managed his first pub in 1973 before rising through the ranks at Whitbread, Guinness and Bass Taverns. He led the buyout of the majority of the Whitbread pub business as CEO of Laurel Pub Company before becoming chairman of Bay Restaurant Group and the Town and City Pub Company.
Ian then founded Stonegate with the acquisition of 333 pubs and bars from Mitchells and Butlers in 2010. He helped to grow it into the largest pub company in Great Britain employing 16,000 people across an estate of 4,500 pubs and bars. He has mentored countless aspirational people up and down the country and served as a champion for the millions of jobs that the sector supports across the UK economy.
His contribution to the hospitality industry was recognised in 2018 when he was appointed a Member of the British Empire (MBE) in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list. He has also won numerous industry awards.
Ian has personally stewarded Stonegate through one of the most tumultuous economic environments for decades; he led the Group through over a dozen acquisitions, Brexit, the Covid lockdowns and the recent inflationary environment.
Ian Payne said:
“Leading Stonegate has been the greatest privilege in my long career. I love pubs and bars and the great people that work in them. There are so many talented individuals in the hospitality industry and I have always tried to help people build successful careers in the licensed trade. As I reflect on the challenges that I have faced over the past 50 years I am filled with hope and excitement for the future. Pubs and bars have always been an integral part of what makes our country unique and the fundamental need to meet, eat, drink, and socialise will always be a part of us.”
David McDowall, CEO of Stonegate Pub Group, said:
“Ian has been an inspiration to us all during his long and distinguished career. I would like to personally thank him not only for the support and guidance he has given me since becoming CEO, but for the role he has played in the careers of so many people over the last fifty years. He has been a true champion of our industry. He retires with our deepest thanks and best wishes. I look forward to toasting his retirement in due course.”
Brian Magnus, Partner at TDR Capital said:
“It has been a delight to work with Ian from the day he brought us the Stonegate opportunity. He is both a great leader and a wonderful person and has led the expansion of Stonegate with great wisdom and judgment. We will miss his insight, experience and good humour and we wish him all the best in his well-deserved retirement”.