Provenance Inns – the seven-strong gastropub and hotel operator – has announced the resignation of co-founder and managing director Michael Ibbotson.

The group will continue under the sole ownership of co-founder Chris Blundell. Ibbotson is remaining with Provenance Inns in a consultancy role, and working closely with Blundell to identify a suitable candidate to take on the managing director role.

Ibbotson will continue to own and run the Durham Ox in Crayke, which he acquired in 1999, and which will now once again trade as a standalone business, independently of the Provenance Inns portfolio. Ibbotson also plans to pursue other interests within the hospitality sector, including wider consultancy work.

Blundell said: “Michael and I have always agreed on the direction of the Provenance Inns business and, with Michael having reached his decision to resign as a director, this is no exception. The forward momentum of Provenance Inns will continue, with no changes to current or future projects. Michael’s continued involvement as a consultant will be invaluable.”

Ibbotson said: “When Chris and I founded Provenance Inns, we set ourselves some ambitious targets, and we have acquired and opened seven businesses in just seven years, putting significant investment into each. Having spent 25 years in the hospitality sector, my passion for the industry is as strong as ever, and there are now other opportunities I want to pursue.

“Although I may have been the ‘face’ of Provenance Inns until now, the heart and soul of the business is the fantastic teams in the pubs and hotels, who deliver amazing customer service every day, and that will not change.”

Provenance Inns was founded in 2010 when Blundell, a former director of supermarket group Morrisons and a regular customer at the Durham Ox, went into partnership with Ibbotson. The company currently has 275 employees and a turnover of c.£10m.

The seven businesses in the Provenance Inns portfolio are: The Black Bull Inn, Moulton; the Carpenters Arms, Felixkirk; the Crown & Cushion, Welburn; the Oak Tree, Helperby; the Punch Bowl, Marton cum Grafton; the West Park Hotel, Harrogate; and the most recent addition, the Cleveland Tontine, Staddlebridge, acquired in 2016.