Birch hotel brand confirms new management team after founders depart

15 February 2023 by
Birch hotel brand confirms new management team after founders depart

The Birch hotel brand has confirmed a new management team is in place after co-founders Chris Penn and Chris King left the business.

Former Ace Hotel London managing director Penn and business partner King opened the first Birch hotel, which features two restaurants by chef Robin Gill, in Cheshunt in Hertfordshire in August 2020.

Penn told The Caterer during the launch that there had been plans to transact on a second Birch property in April 2020, which fell through due to the start of the pandemic.

He left the business a year ago and said this had been "for very different reasons and not to pursue or focus on new opportunities".

A second site, the Birch Selsdon, is now due to open in spring 2023 on a 200-acre site under the leadership of a new senior management team.

Ayo Akinsete, former area managing director for SH Hotels & Resorts, who oversaw the roll-out of Treehouse Hotels and also has 14 years' experience in hospitality, has been appointed as managing director of Birch.

Akinsete said: "The success of the first Birch site gives us a strong foundation to grow the brand and portfolio. What we have created is truly unique and a proven market concept, which we are keen to bring to new locations, for more to share and experience."

John Brennan, chairman of Birch Hospitality Limited, said: "Ayo will lead the running of the entire business to include the launch of our second hotel which will open in Selsdon, Southeast London in Spring 2023, and lead us into further expansion in the future."

Akinsete is joined by new financial director Kam Bathia, who has 25 years' experience and has worked at Chiltern Firehouse in London's Marylebone.

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