BM's equality, diversity and inclusivity director Gregory De La Peña-Hall dies
Gregory De La Peña-Hall, director of equality, diversity and inclusivity at catering company BM, has died.
"It is with great sorrow that we have to announce the incredibly sad passing of our friend and treasured member of the #bmFamily, Gregory De La Peña-Hall," the foodservice provider said last night.
Gregory passed away on Sunday 5 June surrounded by his friends and family, following a journey with cancer.
A statement by BM said: "Gregory was a hugely inspirational member of the #bmFamily and spent much of his time dedicated to the well-being and inclusion of others.
"As many of you will know, Gregory had been unwell for some time but, throughout all of this, he continued to share his passion not only for the people he worked with, but also did so much to help to tackle many wider societal and workplace issues specifically equality, diversity and inclusivity.
"Gregory was incredibly positive and committed. He was never afraid to stand up for his beliefs and he has left a lasting legacy at BM and in the wider hospitality industry. He will be greatly missed by all of us."
Born in 1987, Gregory always wanted a career in foodservice. He took a calculated risk early on and left college during A Levels to join West Ham Football Club's catering trainee scheme.
Not afraid to stand up for what he believed in, he helped create a Straight Allies programme with the LGBT Foundation, which he launched across Merrill Lynch and Linklaters, and which saw Merrill Lynch's chief executive award him the Global Diversity & Inclusion Award.
By 28, he had become operations manager, London B&I, at contract caterer Lexington, responsible for 13 London-based sites, a team of 120 and annual turnover of £6.3m. Within just three months of taking the role he had added new business and mobilised two sites, generating a turnover of £400,000-plus.
He won an Acorn Award in 2016 and, under his leadership, BM was awarded the Springboard Diversity, Equality and Inclusion (ED&I) Award 2022 just last month.
On winning the award, he said: "If I could wave my magic wand – I would go one step further. I would add in ‘equity'. Equity recognises that some groups were (and are) disadvantaged in accessing opportunities and are, therefore, marginalised. Equity, therefore, means increasing diversity by mitigating conditions of disadvantaged groups."
He also wrote in 2020: "I encourage everyone to be an ambassador for D&I and to treat each other with respect. This means that we should take time to understand something different and someone else's challenges."
Gregory is survived by his husband, Joey.