Philip Lay, the former retail director at SA Brain, has launched a new business called PHL (Pubs, Hotels and Leisure) Ventures.

Lay, who left Brains after 12 years with the company last month, has set up the new company as both an operator/practitioner and a consultancy service within the hospitality sector.

He played pivotal roles in the development and modernisation of the Brains retail estate across their portfolio of pub businesses and, more recently, with the acquisition and expansion of the Coffee #1 business.

He told M&C Report at the time of his departure being announced that the move was amicable and that he was looking to remain in the sector.

Lay said: “It is early days and I am looking forward to a break and maybe some skiing, but after that I am hoping to do something back in the sector and there are a number of opportunities out there that are of interest.”

Brains is currently undergoing a restructure, which started last year, and Lay’s responsibilities will be handed over to relevant colleagues to cover in the interim.