Orient-Express names John M. Scott III President and CEO

Orient-Express names John M. Scott III President and CEO

Orient-Express Hotels Ltd.  announced that John M. Scott III has been appointed President and Chief Executive Officer and a Director.  Mr. Scott, 47, is an experienced operator of luxury hotels who most recently served as President and CEO of Rosewood Hotels & Resorts, where he oversaw a portfolio of 17 ultra-luxury hotels located in seven countries with combined revenues of more than $500 million.

“John Scott is a talented and highly regarded leader in the global hotel industry and we are excited to welcome him to Orient-Express,” said J. Robert Lovejoy, Chairman of the Board.  “During his time at Rosewood, John was responsible for doubling the number of hotels under management, significantly increasing EBITDA and securing an active development pipeline of new hotel projects.  With a deep understanding of the ultra-luxury lodging sector and proven industry experience in strategy, operations, finance, and brand building, John has the right skills and qualifications to drive growth and deliver on the tremendous potential of Orient-Express’ portfolio of iconic and irreplaceable properties.”

“Orient-Express is a legendary brand synonymous with excellence, sophistication and personality,” said Mr. Scott.  “With a unique collection of one-of-a-kind assets and a business model and culture that ensures the highest quality service and guest experience, Orient-Express is among the world’s premier luxury hotel and travel companies.  I am excited to join Orient-Express and look forward to working together with the Board and management team to expand the business, grow profitability and significantly increase shareholder value, while providing our guests with experiences and memories that last a lifetime.”

Added Mr. Lovejoy, “On behalf of the Board, I want to thank Philip Mengel for serving as interim CEO for the past six months.  We look forward to his continued contributions as a Director on our Board.  Having a seasoned leader at the helm provided us with the flexibility to conduct the thorough search that led us to John Scott.”

Response to Unsolicited Acquisition Proposal

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Orient-Express also announced that its Board, after consultation with independent financial and legal advisors, has unanimously determined that the unsolicited proposal from The Indian Hotels Company Limited and certain affiliates and third parties to acquire all of the outstanding shares of Orient-Express for $12.63 per share in cash (the “Indian Hotels Proposal”) significantly undervalues Orient-Express and its unique assets and is not in the best interests of Orient-Express and its shareholders.  The Company informed Indian Hotels of its decision in a letter included below.

Mr. Lovejoy said, “The Board is deeply committed to creating value for our shareholders and will take whatever actions it believes will best accomplish that objective.  We carefully evaluated the Indian Hotels Proposal in that spirit but unanimously concluded it is deeply unattractive from a financial perspective. Importantly, the Board believes the current macroeconomic environment, conditions in the luxury hotel business and factors unique to Orient-Express would make this a highly disadvantageous time to sell the Company to realize its true value.  Orient-Express has exciting prospects and an unrivalled collection of one-of-a-kind luxury properties that it is taking concerted actions to optimize. With the appointment of a world-class CEO, whom the Board is confident will drive superior long-term value, we believe Orient-Express has a bright future as an independent company serving the interests of shareholders as well as guests.”

Mr. Lovejoy noted that Mr. Scott formerly served as President and CEO of Rosewood Hotels & Resorts from 2003 until the sale in 2011 of Rosewood and related owned hotel assets (including The Carlyle, Mansion on Turtle Creek, Hotel Crescent Court, Little Dix Bay and Inn of the Anasazi).

Prior to joining Rosewood Hotels, Mr. Scott served for seven years as Managing Director of Acquisitions and Asset Management at Maritz, Wolff & Co., where he was responsible for acquisitions and asset management for the private equity real estate investment group.  Previously, Mr. Scott held management positions in business planning and development at The Walt Disney Company and senior hotel management positions at the Interpacific Group Hong Kong, a private hotel investment and management company operating in the Asia-Pacific region. 

Mr. Scott holds a Master’s Degree in Business Administration from Harvard Business School and a Bachelor of Arts Degree from Dartmouth College.  He also serves on the Board of Cedar Fair Entertainment (NYSE: FUN), a leading publicly traded theme park and entertainment company.

Deutsche Bank Securities Inc. and Goldman, Sachs & Co. are acting as financial advisors to Orient-Express.  Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP is acting as legal advisor to Orient-Express.