Thomas Kochs has left his position as general manager at London’s Claridge’s hotel after nearly five years in the role.
His surprise and sudden departure comes seven months after Coroin, the holding company of Maybourne Hotel Group – owner and operator of the five-red-AA star, 197-bedroom Claridge’s hotel alongside sister properties the Berkeley and the Connaught – was acquired by Constellation Hotels, owned by sovereign wealth fund Qatar Holding. The sale marked the end of a four-year legal battle over the three hotels between the Barclay brothers and Northern Irish property investor Paddy McKillen.
Maybourne Hotel Group declined to comment about Kochs’ departure.
Kochs has been a highly regarded and well-liked general manager, both within the hotel and the wider industry. During his tenure at Claridge’s, he increased the profile of the hotel by welcoming in TV cameras for the first time during its 159-year history for a three-part BBC TV documentary. Inside Claridge’s was well received both inside and outside the industry for providing an insight into the exceptional service standards at the property.
He also oversaw the launch of René Redzepi’s Noma restaurant in Claridge’s ballroom for 10 days during the London 2012 Olympics and brought in Simon Rogan to launch his new restaurant, Fera, in May 2014 to replace Gordon Ramsay’s 12-year-old restaurant.
Born in Germany, Kochs eschewed a career in medicine to undertake a hospitality training programme with the Steigenberger Hotel Group. He arrived in London in 2000 as banqueting operations manager at the Hyatt Carlton Tower (now the Jumeirah Carlton Tower), before joining the Maybourne Hotel Group at the Berkeley, where he initially worked in banqueting, becoming head of events and subsequently food and beverage director of the hotel in 2005.
From 2007 to 2009, Kochs was hotel manager at the Connaught and played a key role in spearheading the successful relaunch of the hotel after its £70m restoration programme, including launching the newly created Connaught Bar and the Michelin-starred restaurant Hélène Darroze.
Upon arriving at Claridge’s as hotel manager in 2009, he oversaw projects such as the creation and launch of the Diane von Furstenberg rooms and suites.
Kochs was appointed general manager of Claridge’s in early 2011, since when he has overseen a team of 420 full-time staff.
In summing up Claridge’s exemplary service, Kochs told The Caterer in 2012 that it aimed to be: “Effortless and natural, which exceeds the customer’s expectations, but without appearing to be over-focused. We’re always very demanding on ourselves and want to do our very best and then a little bit better on top of that.”#
Kochs is the second general manager to depart from Maybourne this year. Natalie Seiler-Hayez left the Connaught in July to join the Beau-Rivage Palace in Lausanne, Switzerland, as general manager. She was replaced two weeks ago by Massimiliano Binda, formerly hotel manager at the Mandarin Oriental in Shanghai, China.
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