Von Essen has appointed the former head of Barceló Hotels UK, Charles Prew, as its new chief executive to head up the company's expansion plans.
In a surprise move, Prew replaces Nick Romano who will continue with Von Essen in his role as managing director.
He stepped down as chief executive of the 21-strong, four-star chain of Barceló Hotels last month, having led the company since 2004, when the group was Paramount Hotels, and through the period when the privately owned Spanish Barceló Group signed a 45-year lease in 2007 to manage and rename the chain.
At the time he said the time was right to seek new and broader challenges and he intended to take up a small number of non-executive positions.
The role at Von Essen, however, will be much bigger than that. Prew has been appointed for his experience of growing Barcelo to help Von Essen's chairman, Andrew Davis, to expand the group of 31 hotels.
Romano said he was thrilled that Prew was joining the company as chief executive, having been actively involved in his appointment.
"His expertise will be a huge asset in developing and continuing the future growth of the next phase of I am thrilled that Charles is coming on board as CEO, having been actively involved in his appointment from the search to the final decision. His expertise will be a huge asset in developing and continuing the future growth of the next phase of Von Essen hotels portfolio, as our targeted expansion continues," he said.
Davis said he was delighted to be welcoming Prew to the Von Essen team. "He has a huge amount of experience at the top level of the leisure industry and I am certain that he will prove an invaluable asset to the company.
"We have recently reported another strong set of results, once again increasing profit despite a challenging market. Charles will be an integral part of ensuring this trend continues and we are all very excited about working alongside him."
Davis announced last year that he was talking to an number of wealthy individuals who were interested in taking a minority stake in the business to help accelerate the groups plans for expansion, both within the UK and abroad.
Von Essen's most recent acquisition was the 23-bderoom Llangoed Hall in Brecon, Powys, and Davis recently announced his intention to buy the 17-bedroom Inverlochy Castle, near Fort William in Scotland, although the owners of the property denied it was for sale.
News of Prew's appointment first broke on the Chef Hermes Blog.
<span class="Á"noindexÁ"">By Janet Harmer
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