Caterer and Hotelkeeper 100: Thomas Dubaere, Accor Hotels UK
Overall ranking: 33 (NEW ENTRY)Hotelier ranking: 7 (NEW ENTRY)
Thomas Dubaere - Snapshot
Thomas Dubaere is managing director of Accor Hotels UK and Ireland, overseeing a broad portfolio of eight brands. Encompassing 188 hotels and more than 24, 000 rooms, these brands range from luxury (Sofitel) to economy (Ibis) and budget (Hotel Formule1). He also sits on the British Hospitality Association board of directors.
A graduate of the Brussels Hotel School, Dubaere has a Masters Degree in Management from the University of Leuven.
Dubaere began his career with Accor in Belgium in 1990 at the Novotel Bruges Centre and held several general manager positions, before being appointed delegate director Economy Brands (Ibis, Etap & F1) Belgium in 2004, and then director of operations Economy Brands Belgium and Luxembourg in 2005.
Thomas Dubaere has worked for Accor for over 22 years, and most recently held the position as managing director Budget Brands Accor UK & Ireland. During this time he played a key role in expanding Accor's budget brands network. He helped develop the Ibis 'megabrand', launched worldwide in 2012, and saw Ibis, All Seasons and Etap evolve into a three-strong brand of Ibis, Ibis Styles and Ibis budget respectively.
His appointment as managing director of Accor Hotels UK and Ireland was announced in February 2012.
What we think
Dubaere's appointment was part of a new brand organisation in the UK and Western Europe and followed on from Jean-Jacques Dessors' move from the UK and Ireland to chief operating officer for Middle East, Africa, Indian Ocean and Caribbean Islands in January 2012.
Dubaere is building on the expansion plans started by Dessors and will continue Accor's ambitions to increase its UK presence to 300 hotels by 2015.
The latter part of 2012 has seen a flurry of activity from Accor UK and Ireland, as this major player ups its profile, with launches and deals. Following on from the opening of the upscale Pullman St Pancras in June and the Francis Bath Hotel (the second in the MGallery collection) in May, November 2012 saw the official opening of two neighbouring hotels, whose style indicates the direction of the company.
The Ibis London Blackfriars is a repositioning of the economy brand, with innovations such as the in-house bed known as SweetBed, while the Novotel London Blackfriars is seen as "tech-savvy", and includes an interactive virtual concierge system and digital art.
Dubaere has championed skills development, and marks "finding and developing talent as part of Accor's ambitious growth strategy". In June 2012 he opened the company's new hospitality training centre, the London Academie Accor, as part of a £5m investment in employee training, and he expects Accor to create 3,500 jobs by 2015 to meet expansion plans.
Dubaere signed five hotels to the Mercure brand in October, which has seen the Mercure network in the UK grow to 75 hotels. He will be working to accelerate development through franchise contracts in the mid-scale and economy segments.
He has also kept an eye on the green agenda, and in April launched Accor's global sustainability programme, Planet 21, "to group all our CSR initiatives with clear commitments to a better planet," he says.
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