UK-based pub company Stonegate Group has announced that its founder and chairman Ian Payne will retire in January 2024.

Payne’s decision will bring an end to his 13-year association with the company.

Payne established Stonegate Group in 2010 after purchasing 333 pubs and bars from Mitchells and Butlers.

Since then, Stonegate Group has positioned itself as the largest pub company in the UK, with an estate of 4,500 pubs and bars.

The company currently employs nearly 16,000 people in the country.

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.

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“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.”

Stonegate Pub Group CEO David McDowall 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.”