Peter Salussolia may not be a name that trips off the tongue too easily but it was certainly the name that stood out to the judges of the Pub Industry Award.
He was doing the "themed thing" long before other operators in the UK, they decided.
As founder and managing director of Glendola Leisure and parent company the Foundation Group, Salussolia is best known for the development of the massive Waxy O'Connor's in London's Leicester Square.
He has also been behind a string of successful one-offs in London and the South including the World's End pub in Camden and JFK's cocktail bar in Southampton.
Previous experience in the pub and restaurant industry led Salussolia, at the age of 29, to start Glendola with the purchase of the Dog & Duck in London's Wembley.
The group now has 12 pubs and runs five Carlton hotels in Holland and two in the UK.
Among the criteria drawn up for the Pub Industry Award was the ability to demonstrate success through innovation and vision, qualities that the judges were in no doubt about when it came to Salussolia.
"Peter is way ahead on tangible innovation and the Irish pub is the biggest innovation in the UK. Everyone is now doing it," said one judge.
Waxy O'Connor's, which boasts five theme rooms and four bars, became an overnight success when it opened in 1995. It is to be replicated in Glasgow next year and the group is making positive noises about further locations, including the USA.
Other brands include Bootsy Brogan's, an Irish themed bar on a smaller scale, with outlets in Wembley and Fulham, and Bar M, currently a one-off in the basement of Glendola's Star & Garter pub in Putney. This bar has an Italian feel, with more emphasis on food, wine and coffee, and there are plans to open more within other London pubs.
Salussolia also secured a deal with US company Rainforest Café to open five outlets over 10 years. The first opened in London last summer and its second is scheduled for September in Manchester.
The importance placed on staff training is evident in Glendola's pubs. One judge noted: "If you go in as a customer it is quite clear that the staff are on the ball. He is a very careful operator."
This is also apparent from Glendola's financial results, which have shown steady improvement. For the year ended March 1997 pre-tax profits were ahead by 32% and sales improved by 12.8%.
His contribution over the past five years as chairman of the Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers was also noted.
His tireless efforts in knocking on doors and his powers of persuasion were major reasons behind the drawing up of a new code of practice for pub leasing.
Finally, the judges felt that Salussolia was not just the driving force behind a number of strong concepts but an inspiration to others in the industry.
As one judge put it: "He has pushed the barriers and created new standards. He is an advocate for his own company and the industry."