Richard Balfour-Lynn has stepped down as chief executive of the De Vere Group, with immediate effect.
He is leaving the group - comprising 13 De Vere hotels, 29 De Vere Venues, 26 De Vere Village hotels and the De Vere Academy of Hospitality - together with the company's chief financial officer, Jag Singh. However, he is to continue his involvement with the De Vere Academy of Hospitality.
Balfour-Lynn and Singh created the De Vere Group through the acquisition of Initial Style Conferences in December 2005 and expanded the business further through the takeover of De Vere Hotels six months later.
As part of a restructuring of the De Vere board, Andrew Coppel, who was appointed executive chairman in March 2010, will take over Balfour-Lynn's responsibilities. New board members include Gareth Caldecott, currently group finance director, who will take overall charge of the group's finances, and Bruce Cave, currently chief operations officer, who will become group development director.
Balfour-Lynn said is was difficult to leave behind a business with which he has been so intimately involved. "The decision for us to move on was not taken lightly. We both have a number of other interests, including MWB Group - Malmaison, Hotel du Vin and MWB Business Exchange - and we wish to free up our time to pursue those interests.
"However, we are leaving De Vere in good hands and in great shape, with a strong team under Andrew's leadership. Both Jag and I look forward to continuing to work with Lloyds Banking Group in MWB where they are a substantive lender."
Andrew Coppel said that Balfour-Lynn and Jag had made a significant contribution to the group's progress.
"Since joining the group early last year, I have been hugely impressed with the overall quality of the business and the strength of the management teams. We have an excellent estate and I am confident that the "De Vere" name will gain greater awareness as we move forward and drive revenue growth," he said. "These strengths have enabled the group to trade increasingly competitively despite the difficult economic environment and give us many exciting options for building value over the medium term with the support of Lloyds."
By Janet Harmer
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Published by: The Caterer