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Hotel heavyweight for Scots chain

Ex-Malmaison boss Cook takes top role at Macdonald

Robert CookMacdonald Hotels, the UK’s largest independent hotel group, has appointed industry heavyweight Robert Cook as commercial director.

Mr Cook, who led the impressive growth of Malmaison and Hotel du Vin for nine years before joining De Vere Group as chief executive in 2012, has been working with Macdonald as a consultant since the turn of the year.

He will have group-wide responsibility for food and beverage, leisure, spa and golf as well as contributing as a board member to the overall strategy of the group.

Reporting to group chairman and chief executive Donald Macdonald, he will work alongside deputy chairman and finance director Gordon Fraser and deputy chief executive Ruaridh Macdonald.

Announcing the appointment Donald Macdonald said: “Like everyone in our industry, I’ve been hugely impressed with Robert’s record of success over many years and we spoke soon after he became available last year.

“He has been working in our business as a consultant since January and it’s clear he shares the board’s excitement and ambition about our future plans. Our discussions to bring him on board permanently were very straightforward and his appointment is a significant coup for us.

“He has quickly established very strong relationships with our senior management team and his insight, vision and experience are already paying dividends as we focus on an ambitious programme of future growth.

“Having recently agreed the sale of land at our Botley Park Hotel in Southampton for just under £60m, with hotel operating profits up £4.3m last year and with our first quarter this year already £1.4m ahead of forecast, we’ve built up a very strong market position and are currently examining a range of new and exciting opportunities which will continue our upwards growth trend.”

Launched 1990 Macdonald Hotels operates 50 properties in the UK, Spain and Portugal and employs more than 4,000 people.

Under Cook’s leadership, Hotel Du Vin won ‘Best Small Hotel Group in the World’ from Business Traveller Magazine five years running. In 2008 he was awarded an Honorary Doctorate from The Robert Gordon University in Aberdeen for his services to the hotel and catering industry.

He said: “From the last few months working with the team here, it’s abundantly clear that the culture of the group is a very special one, where quality, teamwork and customer service are integral to the considerable success the business has already enjoyed.”

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