Ellis replaces Sally Hopson, who steps down from the group’s board, following the IPO of Pets at Home, where she is a customer and people director.
William Lees-Jones, managing director of JW Lees, said: “We first met Roy nearly 20 years ago when we were supplying Inventive Leisure with wines and spirits through our Willoughby’s subsidiary. Roy is one of the finest operators of our generation and we are lucky to have him on board. Watch this space.”
In May, Lees-Jones told the Publican’s Morning Advertiser’s sister title M&C Report that the company has a £20m “war chest” to open 15 pubs per year.
Lees-Jones said at the time: “We are looking at opening five managed houses and buying 10 tenancies every year, coupled with the disposal of the tail end of the estate - over the past 10 years we’ve sold an average of five pubs a year and we’re getting to the end of that tail.
“It’s a net growth of 10 a year that takes us to 200 pubs [over five years], but 200 better pubs because the quality is going up all the time.”