Sam Ward has been promoted to managing director of Simon Rogan's Umbel restaurant group and will oversee every facet of its eight sites in London, The Lake District and Hong Kong.
Ward, 34, was formerly the group's operations director, having first joined the business when he was 22 as bar manager. He spent two years away from the company working as a sommelier at the Ritz London.
Ward has recently been focused on the opening of Aulis and Roganic in Hong Kong, which received its first Michelin star in December 2019, less than a year after opening. Last year he also worked closely with Rogan on the launch of Henrock restaurant in Linthwaite House hotel overlooking Lake Windermere in Cumbria.
Rogan credits Ward with being instrumental in growing the company brand and helping the group to earn a total of five Michelin stars.
He said: "Sam has been integral to helping us get to where we are today. His energy and passion for the restaurants and our ethos, alongside his knowledge of the hospitality landscape and dedication to ensuring the entire team is the absolute best it can be has been amazing to watch. We're looking forward to see where he takes the group next."
Ward first joined the group at the age of 22 as bar manager at Cartmel, near his Lake District home.
He said: "Simon and Penny Rogan have supported me since the beginning, and I'm incredibly grateful to them for every opportunity they have given me. Working for a company home-grown in the Lake District, the place where I grew up and where I still have a huge passion for, has been a dream for me. I couldn't be more proud to have been appointed managing director."
Rogan opened his first restaurant L'Enclume in Cartmel, Cumbria, in 2002. He won the Chef and Restaurateur of the Year - Independent accolades at the Catey Awards in 2013 and in 2019 was named AA Chef of the Year.