Sue Williams, one of the hotel industry's highest profile female general managers, is leaving the Bath Priory after 10 years.
She is currently in discussions about a future appointment, but said that the time was now right to depart from the Bath Priory, which is owned by greetings card entrepreneur Andrew Brownsword.
Until recently, Williams was also responsible for running Gidleigh Park in Devon, another Brownsword hotel. However, following the purchase by Brownsword of four hotels from the administration of Von Essen - Amberley Castle, Buckland Manor, Lower Slaughter Manor and Washbourne Court - she was given responsibility for Lower Slaughter Manor in the Cotswolds and Andrew Foulkes was appointed hotel manager in her place at Gidleigh Park.
"I firmly believe a wise manager moves on when the hotel and the team are in a great place and that you have a strong succession plan in sight," explained Williams. "When I realised this was the case and hearing of other exciting industry opportunities cropping up, I decided this was indeed the time to move on."
Williams said that there had been many highlights during her time at both the Bath Priory and Gidleigh Park. "I have particularly enjoyed seeing and being involved with the refurbishment projects and seeing the hotels being loved and enhanced by the owners. Working alongside Michael Caines, who I have known from my Le Manoir days, was certainly a happy opportunity - he inspires all who spend time with him.
"Reopening Gidleigh after its refurbishment in December in 2006 and taking it from a building site and operating it at a two-Michelin-star level from day one was an undoubted highlight and amazing challenge.
"Another absolute highlight has been the opportunity I've had to work with some of the most amazing industry professionals. Those I leave behind are set to go on from strength to strength and I will get great joy watching their successes from afar.
Williams joined the Bath Priory - which she will leave at the end of May - from Le Manoir aux Quat'Saisons, where she worked for 13 years, initially as guest services manager and then operations manager. Earlier this year she received an award for Outstanding Achievement in the South West Tourism Awards.
By Janet Harmer
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