Award-winning pub company Hawthorn Leisure has bolstered its recently-integrated operations team by recruiting a new director.

Ashley Lovett, who joins from Ei Group, becomes operations director – south.

His joining means Andy Parker, who until now has been responsible for overseeing all Hawthorn Leisure’s business development managers (BDMs) as national operations director, becomes operations director – north, within this now much larger organisation.

The company, which was acquired by leisure and retail property specialist NewRiver last year, owns more than 600 community pubs across England, Scotland and Wales.

Ashley joins an operations team swelled to 28 following the successful integration in January of seven operations managers and two regional property managers from LT Management, which handled the day-to-day running of the NewRiver pub estate.

The expanded Hawthorn Leisure operations team, headed by managing director of operations Mark McGinty, now includes 19 BDMs and four regional property managers.

Ashley, who will lead and develop nine of the BDMs and an operations manager, will report to Mark McGinty, contribute to the company’s overall business strategy, and develop a ‘robust capital development pipeline’ in London and the South East.

Mark McGinty said: “Ashley has more than 10 years’ experience in the retail and hospitality sectors across the UK. He’s an outstanding people leader, is passionate about growing talent and developing high performing teams, has an innate ability to cut through the noise and drive action, whilst possessing an impressive track record of delivering profit growth.”

Ashley, who joined Ei Group in 2009, working in several senior management roles, said: “I’m excited to have joined this young, ambitious pub company, and am already enjoying working with a team of dedicated, enthusiastic BDMs, which is clearly committed to helping our pub partners develop and run successful, sustainable businesses.”

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