The X Factor boss was given the accolade in recognition of his outstanding contribution to music and entertainment, as well as his charity work, and the boy band stars, who were discovered by Cowell and his fellow judges on the U.K. talent show in 2010 and subsequently signed to his Syco music label, were on hand to salute their longtime mentor with the prize.

"When we started on X Factor we could never have imagined how Simon would change our lives," Liam Payne told the audience.

Accepting the prize, Simon quipped, "Just by luck I get the award I've been wanting all my life and I'm completely hammered."

He then joked, "Guys, who misses Zayn?," referring to former One Direction star Zayn Malik, who left the group earlier this year (15).

Simon went on to dedicate the prize to his mother, who died in July (15), and late father, and acknowledged his two-year-old son Eric, saying, "I hope he will be standing here in 23 years time as I'm being wheeled into the Grosvenor House Hotel on my second pack of cigarettes."

Other former X Factor contestants Olly Murs and Leona Lewis were also on hand to fete Simon, alongside his label's artists Il Divo and Labrinth. Simon also received kind words from a handful of stars, like British Prime Minister David Cameron, Oprah Winfrey, Kevin Spacey, Cheryl Fernandez-Versini and Little Mix, who all saluted the music mogul via video messages.

The Music Industry Trust annual gala benefits the charities Nordoff Robbins and the BRIT Trust.

Previous recipients of the organisation's top award include Sir Elton John, Gary Barlow and Annie Lennox.