Derek Picot, general manager, Carlton Tower, London

15 December 2005
Derek Picot, general manager, Carlton Tower, London

Derek Picot, 53, is the general manager of the five-star luxury hotel, Jumeirah Carlton Tower, Knightsbridge. He's worked there for nearly three years, but has 37 years of industry experience, and previous jobs have taken him to all five continents.

Starting at 16 as a kitchen porter at Jersey's Biarritz hotel, Picot was desperate for the bright lights of London, so he began a four-year diploma at the London Hotel School in Ealing.

After college the Savoy gave Picot an administration job on 1,000 a year - including food and board - but he worked his way up and at 25 was its youngest-ever assistant manager.

Four years later Picot moved across to Hilton, where he found his head for business on its corporate development programme. In 1981 Hilton offered Picot an executive assistant manager position in Kuwait. Newly married, Picot took his wife, who "wasn't overwhelmed" with the destination. "In three years I was shot at, and the hotel was blown up twice and set on fire once. It was an experience," he recalls.

After a short stint as an operations manager back in London, Picot went to be resident manager at the Mandarin hotel in Hong Kong for two years.

After posts with Rocco Forte Hotels in Toronto and Le Meridien in Sydney and Melbourne, Picot returned to London in 2002 to the Jumeirah Carlton Tower, where he has remained.

Picot enjoys his work, and recently had to chase up a guest who had left $1m behind in a bedroom safe. There was also a customer who forgot his false leg. It's perhaps no surprise that Picot believes a sense of humour is essential in the role. He adds: "The most important quality a general manager can have is leadership. With that you can develop people. You also need to be able to plan ahead and be good with numbers."

Picot recommends learning at least one language - he's fluent in French, and competent in German and Arabic.

Report by Amanda Smith

Salary Watch: What general managers should be earning

Three-star, up to 100 rooms £25,000 £30,000-£45,000 £60,000
Three-star, 100 rooms-plus £35,000 £45,000-£60,000 £80,000
Four-star, up to 100 rooms £30,000 £45,000-£55,000 £75,000
Four-star, 100 rooms-plus £40,000 £50,000-£75,000£145,000
Five-star, up to 100 rooms£45,000 £60,000-£70,000 £105,000
Five-star, 100 rooms-plus £55,000 £80,000-£100,000 £195,000
The Caterer Breakfast Briefing Email

Start the working day with The Caterer’s free breakfast briefing email

Sign Up and manage your preferences below

Check mark icon
Thank you

You have successfully signed up for the Caterer Breakfast Briefing Email and will hear from us soon!

Jacobs Media Group is honoured to be the recipient of the 2020 Queen's Award for Enterprise.

The highest official awards for UK businesses since being established by royal warrant in 1965. Read more.


Ad Blocker detected

We have noticed you are using an adblocker and – although we support freedom of choice – we would like to ask you to enable ads on our site. They are an important revenue source which supports free access of our website's content, especially during the COVID-19 crisis.

trade tracker pixel tracking