Mitchells & Butlers chairman Bob Ivell, known as one most experienced and successful leaders the modern pub and restaurant sector has ever known, has been awarded MCA’s Lifetime Achievement at the Retailer’s Retailer Awards.

In a career that has spanned more than 40 years, he has been at the forefront of the food-led managed pub market.

Cutting his industry teeth at Whitbread, then at the cutting edge of licensed retail innovation, he eventually became managing director at Beefeater, at that time the country’s leading steak house brand.

More success came at Scottish & Newcastle, where he became chairman and managing director of its retail division, whose star brand Chef & Brewer set the standard for pub restaurants.

He also demonstrated his skill for building teams and supporting talent, creating around him a group of young divisional MDs destined for greater things, including both Phil Urban and Steve Richards.

But perhaps his greatest success has come in his current role as chairman at Mitchells & Butlers, a post he took on back in 2011.

It was a turbulent time, with the pub and restaurant giant having gone through a string of chairmen. Lasting a year in that hot seat was seen as a good innings.

Almost a decade on he is still there at the helm, having steadied the ship and created an environment for his operators to drive the business forward, with brands like Toby Carvery and Miller & Carter becoming sector stars.

His ability to bring people together, coax, cajole and generally get the best out of them is perhaps his greatest attribute; he’s equally relaxed with high-profile shareholders as he is pub managers, with politicians as he is industry colleagues.

His boardroom skills and experience have been deployed in non-executive roles at companies as diverse as Aga, Carpetright, Britvic and David Lloyd Leisure.

Importantly for the hospitality sector he was one of the key players in bringing about the merger of the ALMR and BHA to create UKHospitality, which has been a vitally important voice and advocate for the sector this past year. He remains on the UKH board.

Congratulations Bob.