Stonegate founder named Industry Icon & Plan B scoops Special Award

Hospitality veteran and Stonegate Pub Company founder Ian Payne was named an Industry Icon at CGA’s 2019 Hero & Icon Awards on Wednesday (20 November).

The founders of Plan B, the initiative to support women in hospitality, meanwhile received the evening’s Special Award for contributions to the industry.

Ian Payne is recognised for a career in hospitality that spans 47 years. Having started out behind the bar of a local pub, he has built a stellar career in pub management for companies including Bass, Laurel Pub Company and Town and City Pub Company, and has led many of the biggest pub transactions of the last few decades.

In 2010, he founded Stonegate Pub Company out of the acquisition of pubs from Mitchells & Butlers, and has grown it through further deals for businesses including cocktail bar brand Be At One and, this summer, the Ei Group. In 2018, he received an MBE for services to the hospitality and pub industry. He has also been instrumental in the careers of people at all stages of their careers in the pub sector.

Presenting him with the Industry Icon Award, CGA vice president Peter Martin said: “Ian Payne has been right at the heart of the restructuring and, as importantly, the reimagining of the modern British pub industry. Despite overseeing some of the biggest shifts in power and ownership that the sector has witnessed, he remains at his core a traditionalist, and most at home out there on the frontline with his teams in his pubs. He understands that that is where you find the essence of the industry—the heart of hospitality.”

He added: “Ian is passionate about pubs, a supporter of a raft of industry initiatives and campaigns, and has bred real loyalty throughout the business. He has long promoted meritocracy and his ‘Bar to Board’ philosophy has played a hand in the careers of many talented leisure industry professionals.”

The Special Award at CGA’s 2019 Hero & Icon Awards honoured the Plan B project, co-founded and supported by Holly Addison, Emma Causer, Ann Elliott and Kate Nicholls.

Launched last year in response to concerns about the shortage of female leaders in hospitality, it has provided women in management positions with aspirations to reach board-level roles with mentoring, advice and motivation.

In little over a year it has recruited 150 board-level mentors and run seven events to pair them with mentees, with eight more events, a conference and a website to follow in 2020.

Peter Martin said, “Plan B is an initiative that has tackled an immediate issue and caught the industry’s zeitgeist.

'Last year’s 2020 Conference highlighted the issues around promoting diversity in employment in our workforce, a topic that resonated loud and clear. Holly, Emma, Ann and Kate aren’t just great advocates for diversity - they’re doing something practical about it.

'This Award is in recognition of the hard work and determination put in to get Plan B up and running and for the success it has already proved—and it’s also a nudge to others in the industry to get involved.”