Ian Payne, the industry veteran who recently acquired a £373m pub package from Mitchells & Butlers (M&B) as part of the new start-up Stonegate, has resigned as chairman of both the Bay Restaurant Group and the Town & City Pub Company. He is being replaced by David Myers, who was formerly chief executive of Avebury Taverns. The companies confirmed that Suzanne Baker would continue in her role as chief executive for Bay, as would Toby Smith at Town & City. Chris Keen also continues as finance director of both companies. Talks over a possible merger between Town & City and Stonegate have reportedly been “slow going” and the move by Payne, who has reportedly supported such a deal, will not come as a shock to the industry. Stonegate has already established its headquarters in Birmingham and will soon be joined by Graham Jones, the current operations director at the leased and tenanted operator Punch Taverns. Payne is currently acting as executive chairman of the group. The TDR Capital backed company purchased a package of 333 pubs that included 52 Scream pubs, 71 High Street Bars & Venues, 75 Town Pubs and 67 Community Pubs, plus 68 other small pubs in August and the deal completed earlier this month. A spokesman for Bay and Town & City said: “The board would like to express its gratitude to Ian for the significant contribution he has made to Bay and Town & City during his time with both businesses and wishes him well in his future endeavours. “Current trading across both companies continues to be robust and remains encouraging in what remains a challenging market.”