Former Hotelier of the Year Peter Crome is to retire as managing director at the Carnegie Club at Skibo Castle, the private members' club in the Scottish Highlands, after 13 years in the role.
He will take up the part-time position of chairman, while French hotelier Philippe Requin, who has previously worked for Six Senses Hotels Resorts Spas and Grace Hotels, will step into his shoes as managing director.
Having started his career as a trainee chef at the Swan hotel in Lavenham, Suffolk, 66-year-old Crome said that it will be difficult to leave a position that he loves, but that now was the right time "to allow a younger person to have a shot at the job".
"I have always been at the sharp end of the business, but I have been doing it for so years and now it is time to do other things."
Well known throughout the industry for being an ebullient and hands-on operator, he now intends to study history and art, alongside spending more time developing a hospitality scholarship in conjunction with the University of the Highlands and Islands.
Along the way, he says he has been inspired and supported by numerous hoteliers, starting with Peter Evans, his first general manager at the Swan hotel. "He was very encouraging to me and helped me understand exactly what a hotel manager did."
Crome said that Willy Bauer played a key role in changing the direction of his career, having been side-tracked into human resources and training at the Hyde Park hotel. "My early years in the industry was as a Post House boy; it was Willy who taught me about quality and to never compromise on standards. I later followed him to the Savoy."
During his time at St Andrews Old Course hotel, he worked for Bob Zimmer, the founder of Rosewood Hotels, who "taught me how to treat people", while from the creators of Chewton Glen - Martin and Brigitte Skan - he learnt perfectionism and interior design.
Crome had never intended to leave Chewton Glen, but he encouraged to do to after meeting Ellis and Eve Short, who bought Skibo Castle in 2004. "They said they wanted me to make Skibo a very special place and I believed I could do that," he said. "And after nearly 10 years at Chewton Glen, I was ready for a new challenge."
Since Crome's appointment, the Carnegie Club at Skibo Castle, which was extended by philanthropist Andrew Carnegie in 1898, has undergone a £20m conservation programme. Today, the Grade A, 21 bedroom property, with a further 11 lodges on the 8,000 acre estate, offers extensive facilities including a n 18-hole links golf course, swimming pool, French clay tennis court, clay pigeon shooting, fishing, archery and quad-biking.
There are currently around 400 members of the club, each paying a joining fee of £25,000, plus an annual fee of £8,000.
Crome said that one of the highlights of his career was being named Hotelier of the Year in 2000. "I never sought awards, but to be recognised was wonderful."
He is now looking forward to working alongside Requin in the future. "We are delighted to welcome such an established figure of the hospitality world who understands the subtlety of running a unique members' club."
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