Accor chief ousted over slow turnaround

Accor chief ousted over slow turnaround Hennequin will leave Accor with immediate effect

Hotel giant Accor has ousted chief executive Denis Hennequin following a disagreement over the pace of change at the largest hotel chain in Europe.

A transitional team, headed by chief operating officer Yann Caillere, who takes the role of chief executive, has been put in charge.

Board member Sebastien Bazin, head of Colony Europe, was named vice-chairman to replace Philippe Citerne, who becomes non-executive chairman.

Hennequin becomes the third chief executive to be ousted from Accor since United States-based Colony Capital invested in the group in 2005.

He was hired in 2010 to accelerate an asset light strategy designed to reduce exposure to capital intensive owned hotels in favour of franchises and management contracts.

However, stakeholders are believed to have lost patience with the speed of change, with Accor shares down five per cent in 2013.

During his tenure Hennequin sold loss making budget hotel chain Motel 6 for $1.9 billion.

He also disposed of gourmet caterer Lenotre and a stake in casino group Lucien Barriere, making Accor a pure hotel operator.

In February, Hennequin launched a three-year plan to reduce exposure to a weak Europe.

Instead plans were put in place to step up expansion in emerging markets, while accelerating its move toward franchising or managing hotels for others to boost profit margins.

“The directors came to the joint conclusion regarding the group’s situation: that the strategy adopted is the right one and that it will remain unchanged,” Accor said in a statement.

“However, given current economic conditions and the rapid transformation of its competitive environment, Accor must accelerate the implementation of this strategy in order to reinforce its positions.”