Cateys 2023: Lifetime Achievement Award: Bill Toner

04 July 2023
Cateys 2023: Lifetime Achievement Award: Bill Toner

Bill Toner wins the Lifetime Achievement Award, sponsored by HRC

As you might expect, the winner of the Lifetime Achievement award is a giant in the world of hospitality.

Bill Toner might have originally trained as a chef straight from school, but he soon put down his knives to learn how to cut a deal.

Having risen through the ranks at Gardner Merchant to become managing director until its sale to Sodexo in 2000, he then joined Aramark as chief executive. Here, he oversaw the growth of the business from £150m to £400m in annual turnover in five years and bagged himself the Foodservice Caterer of the Year Catey (2002) in the process.

His route to chief executive of CH&Co Group took him from Aramark via Host and a number of mergers and consolidations. Today CH&Co Group comprises brands delivering services in workplace cafés and restaurants, corporate fine dining and hospitality, education catering and visitor attractions.

Toner's proven business acumen has allowed CH&Co Group to grow at a staggering pace, while maintaining the quality and people-focused delivery that the business promotes.

On top of his fantastic credentials as an operator and deal maker he is also a generous supporter of the industry who has done much to support those developing their careers.

Throughout his career, Toner has played an active part in supporting hospitality business groups, ranging from being a trustee on industry charities, Hospitality Action and Springboard to being a past member of the CBI's London business group and a board member of the British Hospitality Association (now UKHospitality), along with Adopt a School and the Royal Academy of Culinary Arts, where he is still heavily involved.

Ritz London executive chef John Williams, who as chair and trustee of the Royal Academy of Culinary Arts has worked closely with Toner, said he was "enormously driven in all aspects of business and is passionate in his pursuit of excellence. Be it developing young talent, driving projects or supporting organisations and charities.

"Via his work with the Royal Academy of Culinary Arts and Springboard and Hospitality Action he ensures everyone has a platform to allow them to perform to the best of their ability. He also inspires with excellent vision.

"On a personal note, he is very kind and generous. He has great banter with all the chefs when he comes into the Ritz kitchen. I am proud to call him a friend. He's a great family man."

Tim Jones, chair of CH&Co, described him as "innovative, loyal, has an extremely high moral code". He said: "Bill's success in growing businesses is well documented. There can be very few, if any, in our industry that can rival Bill for the number of successful mergers and acquisitions that he has put together.

"Bill is innovative, loyal and, above all, he is one of the most committed business leaders I have known. He is completely dedicated to the role he performs. I am often in awe at the energy and enthusiasm he has for the company and the industry as a whole.

"He is at heart a dedicated family man. For obvious reasons, this is a side of Bill that many do not see. He is never happier than when he is with his wife, Susanne, his two children and seven grandchildren. I am delighted Bill is receiving this richly deserved award."

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Jacobs Media is honoured to be the recipient of the 2020 Queen's Award for Enterprise.

The highest official awards for UK businesses since being established by royal warrant in 1965. Read more.


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