Groucho Club names Elli Jafari as its first female CEO

28 February 2024 by
Groucho Club names Elli Jafari as its first female CEO

Elli Jafari has been appointed chief executive of London's famous Groucho Club.

She will be the first female leader for the member's club, which was bought by hospitality group Artfarm in 2022.

Jafari will join the business in mid-April from a role at the Standard hotel in King's Cross, where she was executive vice president for London and Ibiza and was known for curating celebrity parties.

After being raised in Tehran, Jafari gained a Bachelor of Arts in Hotel and Restaurant Management at San Francisco's Golden State University. She has since worked at W Hotels and Lore Group and as managing director of the Curtain hotel and members' club in Shoreditch.

According to Artfarm, Jafari will "work closely with the Groucho team to harness the magic, artistry and creativity of the club and build on its past decades of success".

Ewan Venters, chief executive of Artfarm, said: "The appointment of Elli signifies the start of an exciting new era for the Groucho Club.

"As our first female CEO, this feels particularly apt as we approach the fortieth anniversary of the club's formation.

"We have exciting plans in the pipeline, and I am confident that Elli's considerable expertise will enable us to further enhance our member experience for many years to come whilst staying true to our founding principles."

The Groucho was founded in 1985 by a group of mostly female publishers and has been a hub for people working in the arts, literature, film, music, and media for almost 40 years.

It takes its name from the Groucho Marx quote: "I don't want to belong to any club that will accept me as a member."

Artist Damien Hirst famously celebrated his Turner Prize win by putting his £20,000 winnings behind the bar, and U2 frontman Bono once sang ‘Happy Birthday' to president Bill Clinton around a piano at the club.

Mark Hix was appointed director of food and beverage at the Groucho following Artfarm's purchase of the club in 2022.

Artfarm was launched in 2014 by Iwan and Manuela Wirth, the co-founders of art gallery Hauser & Wirth.

Its hospitality ventures include the Fife Arms in Braemar, Fish Shop in Ballater, and the Audley pub in London's Mayfair.

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