News: Kempinski chief executive to depart next year

Kempinski Hotels has revealed Markus Semer will step down as chairman and chief executive of the company next year.

He will stay on until a successor is recruited and appointed.

In a dramatic day for the hotel company, chief financial officer Colin Lubbe said he would also leave the company next year.

Lubbe will again stay on until a replacement can be recruited.

Semer joined Kempinski 16 years ago and has seen the portfolio grow from 23 hotels to 78 hotels under operation and 21 under development today.

He rose to the top job after chief executive Alejandro Bernabé stepped down in 2016.

Bernabé himself was appointed after former chief executive Reto Wittwer was forced to resign after claims by Kempinski that he had channelled £4 million out of the company.

The charges were later dropped.

Semer is credited with having played an essential role in recovering from that difficult period and transitioning the brand from an interregional German hotel operator to an independent international luxury hotel management brand.

Kempinski chairman Abdulla Saif, said: “On behalf of the supervisory board, I would like to sincerely thank Markus Semer for his invaluable involvement and dedication to the Kempinski Group over the last 16 years and over the last three years as chief executive for having successfully repositioned and succeeded in making the company profitable by setting a financially sound strategy with an achieved sustainable net portfolio growth.

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“Kempinski, which is celebrating its 122nd anniversary this year, has never been stronger and more competitive as an independent international hotel luxury brand, and we owe Markus Semer and the team our appreciation for this remarkable achievement.

“We would also like to thank him for having accepted in the interest of the company to extend his mandate during this transition period thus allowing the board to recruit and appoint a successor in a transparent and coordinated manner.”

During Lubbe’s ten years with the company, the portfolio grew from 47 hotels to 78 hotels under operation and 21 under pre-opening and development with the latest landmark openings in Singapore, Dubai Palm, Muscat and Bali.

Lubbe said: “I am very proud to have contributed to increasing the company value substantially over the last three years for the Kempinski shareholders.

“We are closing the business year 2018 with having yet again exceeded our company’s profit targets and having fulfilled all strategic key performance indicators and net portfolio growth objectives.

“I leave in place an exceptionally talented team who will continue to build on what we have achieved and have no doubt that they will continue to grow and excel, individually and for the company.”

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