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Stephen Alden appointed chief executive of the Set

19 April 2016 by
Stephen Alden appointed chief executive of the Set

Stephen Alden, former chief executive of the Maybourne Hotel Group, intends to create "a modern version of grand luxury hotels" in his new role heading up the company behind London's Café Royal hotel.

Alden left Mayboune in May 2015, a month after Coroin, the holding company of Maybourne was acquired by Constellation Hotels, owned by sovereign wealth fund Qatar Holding.

In the newly created role of chief executive, Alden intends to establish the Set, owned by Alrov Properties, an Israeli company owned by property and design entrepreneurs Alfred and Georgi Akirov as a group that both guests and staff can be proud of. Alongside the Café Royal, the Set comprises the Conservatorium in Amsterdam and the Lutetia in Paris, which is set to open at the end of 2017.

He will initially undertake "extensive work" on creating a brand strategy for the group which then has ambitions to expand into international gateway cities.

With regards to the Café Royal, which opened in 2012 following a £200m refurbishment, Alden said he knows that improvements need to be made. The hotel has endured a number of high level changes of personnel during its three and a half year history and a succession of less-than flattering reviews.

"I'm currently observing the flow of the hotel so that by the end of my first 90 days here I will have a clear idea which areas need to be enhanced," he said. "There are some things that are being done exceptionally well, other areas could be better.

"The considerable investment in the hotel has ensured that we have all the physical attributes in place to do battle to become one of the top 10 leading hotels in London."

Georgi Akirov, chairman of the Set, said Alden was joining the company at "an important stage" in its development and growth plan. "His experience will be valuable in supporting us to achieve our ambitions to consolidate and grow the group internationally."

Maltese-born Alden described his management style as "quite tough", while enjoying a very transparent relationship with his senior managers. "Tension gives you the outcome that is the best for hotels, guests and owners.

"I never accept the status quo - at Maybourne we enjoyed one of the lowest staff turnover and highest repeat guest figures in the industry. When those two engines work together, you create something very special."

Alden said that his departure from Maybourne after nine years and with new owners in place was a "good time" to go. "When I joined, the group had an uncommon passion across its hotels, by the time I left it was a leading performer across all metrics - commercial, people and creative."

Prior to joining Maybourne, Alden was based in New York as senior vice-president of the St Regis and Luxury Collection brands for Starwood Hotels & Resorts, having previously worked for Starwood in Italy and Malta.

Thomas Kochs appointed MD of Café Royal >>

Thomas Kochs steps down as GM of Claridge's >>Qataris buy majority stake in Maybourne Hotel Group >>Anthony Lee steps down as GM at the Hotel Café Royal >>

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