Sixteen years after joining Devonshire Hotels & Restaurants as a waiter, Richard Palmer has been appointed managing director of the luxury hospitality group owned by the Duke of Devonshire.
Palmer has stepped into the shoes of Simon Rhatigan, who left the company last month after four years to open a group of boutique hotels under newly launched company Helmsley Hospitality.
In his new role, Palmer will oversee a portfolio of properties in Yorkshire and Derbyshire, which is headed by the four-red-AA-star, 40-bedroom Devonshire Arms hotel & spa in Bolton Arm, North Yorkshire (pictured).
Palmer started his career in 2001 as an 18-year-old waiter in the brasserie at the Devonshire Arms, and soon after progressed to a trainee manager and worked his way around all the departments within the hotel.
Following a six-month work exchange in Thailand, Palmer returned to the UK and was appointed general manager at the 16-bedroom Devonshire Fell hotel in Burnsall, North Yorkshire, at the age of 21. Other jobs within the group followed before he took a one-year sabbatical to go travelling.
On returning to the UK, Palmer was appointed as assistant operations manager of Ribble Valley Inns before returning to Devonshire Arms Hotels & Restaurants as head of catering and retail, based at the Chatsworth Estate in Derbyshire.
"When I first joined the company at 18, my ambition was to become general manager, something I've now surpassed," said Palmer. "It is brilliant to be appointed managing director and I'm now looking ahead to future plans, which include the opening of more bedrooms and expansion of the spa at the Devonshire Arms."
The group's holiday cottages portfolio, located around Chatsworth and Bolton Abbey, is also set to be expanded.
Richard Reynolds, chief executive of the Chatsworth Settlement Trustees, the owner of Devonshire Hotels & Restaurants, said: ‘We are sorry to lose Simon Rhatigan but delighted that we have such a talented replacement in Richard Palmer.
"We know we are in safe hands. Richard has a proven track record with us, shares our values and has worked his way up through the operations side to this leadership role. His dedication to excellence, detailed knowledge of the business and passion for quality has led to his success."