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On Tuesday night, 3rd July, at London’s Grosvenor House, Peter Borg-Neal, CEO of local pub operator, Oakman Inns, who own Solihull's The Beech House, was recognised with a Pub & Bar Award at the 35th Annual ‘Cateys’, one of the hospitality industry’s highest awards for pub operators. 

The Cateys are one of the UK’s most respected industry awards and every year the best of Britain’s chefs, hoteliers, publicans, brewers, suppliers and managers eagerly wait to see if they have been shortlisted by the distinguished judging panel. 

Peter has been an integral part of the hospitality industry for almost forty years. At 16, he started work as a cellar boy and by 2002 had become a divisional director at both Allied Domecq and Whitbread. However, creating his own unique brand was now his driving force, and in 2005, he founded Oakman Inns and opened his first pub, The Akeman in Tring, in December 2007, establishing the new concept of a ‘modern public house’. Ten and a half years later, the pub group, which is ranked in the Top 20 of the Sunday Times 100 Best Companies to Work For, is operating 22 distinctive pubs, employing nearly 800 people across Southern England and the West Midlands and is opening its 23rd pub, Royal Foresters in Ascot, at the end of this month.

Peter is thrilled that the work that he and his fellow professionals at Oakman Inns has been recognised by their peers. He said: “Ever since I was first flicking through the appointments section of The Caterer & Hotelkeeper as a teenager, the magazine has been a big influence in my career. Back then, I aspired to being mentioned in an article or even on to the front cover! Winning this Catey means so much to me and symbolises a significant milestone in my career. Every day, I realise how lucky I am to be working in this dynamic industry and to be supported by such a talented team."

One Award judge, Kate Nicholls, UKHospitality’s Chief Executive, said: “A relentless focus on continuing improvement in business, community investment and people. The award recognises Peter’s commitment to bringing old buildings back to life and the regeneration impact association with it, as well as industry leadership on initiatives to do with straws single-use plastics, environmental concerns and promotion of diversity in the sector.”

Another judge, Paul Salisbury, Lovely Pubs’ MD, commented: “He won for his work promoting the industry and working on great causes. A year of exceptional growth in a tough climate.”