Accor has appointed Thomas Dubaere - a stalwart with the company for 22 years - as managing director for UK and Ireland.
Most recently, since 2010, Dubaere has held the position of managing director of budget brands for Accor UK and Ireland. Over the past two years Dubaere has played a key role in the expansion of the group's budget brands and helped develop the Ibis "megabrand" which will launch in 2012 and see Ibis, Etap and All Seasons evolve into a three-strong brand of Ibis, Ibis Styles and Ibis Budget.
"Accor is now one of the strongest hotel groups in the UK market and I am looking forward to continuing Accor's ambitious expansion plan to increase our UK presence to 300 hotels by 2015," said Dubaere. "2012 will be a busy and exciting year for Accor with the roll-out of our new Ibis brand and a strong development pipeline."
Dubaere began his career with Accor in Belgium in 1990 at the Novotel Bruges Centre and held several general manager positions, before being appointed delegate director economy brands (Ibis, Etap & F1), Belgium in 2004, and then director of operations economy brands, Belgium and Luxembourg in 2005.
He is a graduate of the Brussels Hotel School, and has a masters degree in management from the University of Leuven.
Dubaere's appointment was made public on the same day as Accor announced record expansion for the group in 2011 with the opening of 38,700 rooms worldwide, compared with 25,000 during the previous year. Most of the new hotels involved management and franchise contracts. The largest expansion was seen within the Mercure brand with the opening of 11,000 rooms, thanks in particular to the acquisition and rebranding of 24 former Jarvis hotels in the UK.
Last year also saw an improved operating performance for the company with operating profit before tax rising 39.2%, like-for-like, to £370m.
The future pipeline of Accor comprises 609 hotels (104,000 rooms), with 40,000 rooms due to open this year.
Worldwide, the company currently has more than 4.400 hotels and 530,000 rooms. Accor UK and Ireland has a portfolio of 185 hotels and more than 24,000 rooms under the Sofitel, MGallery, Novotel, Mercure, Ibis, All Seasons and Etap brands.
By Janet Harmer
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