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New chairman appointed as Travelodge battles back toward black

New chairman appointed as Travelodge battles back toward black

Travelodge has announced the appointment of Brian Wallace to the position of chairman. 

Wallace has a wealth of experience in the hotel industry and will take up the role with immediate effect.

A qualified accountant, he has held senior executive roles with a number of companies, including Schlumberger, Ladbrokes and Hilton, as well as non-executive roles at Miller Group, Hays and Scottish & Newcastle.

Wallace spent 12 years with Hilton, initially as finance director, before combining that role with deputy chief executive.

During that period, he played a pivotal role in strengthening the balance sheet, expanding the global presence of the company and ultimately reunifying the Hilton brand through the landmark sale of the business to Hilton Hotels Corporation in America.

He also is currently a non executive director of FirstGroup.

The appointment comes at a difficult time for Travelodge with news in December the budget hotel chain has so far offloaded only two of 49 properties marked for disposal as part of a deal to avoid administration.

Travelodge told landlords in the summer that it would seek to transfer 49 of its 505 hotels to other operators as part of a rescue deal.

That followed the completion of a Company Voluntary Arrangement (CVA), which secured a financial restructuring and prevented any risk of the company falling into administration.

The deal also involved hefty rent cuts at a further 109 properties.

Travelodge now has until mid-March to find new operators for the 49 hotels, with fears raised the company may break the terms of its deal.

Commenting on the announcement of the new chairman, Grant Hearn, chief executive of Travelodge, said: “I am really excited to welcome Brian as the new Chairman of Travelodge. 

“He has extensive experience of the hotel industry which will be invaluable as we continue to grow the Travelodge brand and deliver on our successful growth strategy.

“I have known Brian for over 12 years and believe he will be a real asset to our company.”