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Raffles and Orient Express strengthen top-tier team

Raffles and Orient Express strengthen top-tier team

Accor has announced a series of new executive appointments for Raffles & Orient Express, brands of its Luxury & Lifestyle Division. The new hires will join the leadership team overseeing two of the world’s most prestigious hospitality brands and will be based in both Paris and New York.

“Raffles and Orient Express are legendary brands steeped in history within Accor’s Luxury & Lifestyle division, and we have a responsibility to act as stewards of their remarkable legacies – creating new possibilities and accelerating our targeted growth strategy, while retaining their prestige among new generations of world travelers,” said Omer Acar, CEO, Raffles & Orient Express. “I am delighted to welcome a strong group of uniquely experienced professionals to our leadership team who will bring fresh global perspectives and a mastered understanding of these exceptional segments. We are confident their expertise and contributions will fortify the Group’s commitment to nurture and safeguard these remarkable brands, while elevating the experiences of our valued guests and ownership teams.”

Accor is pleased to welcome the following professionals:

Claudia Kozma Kaplan, Senior Vice President & Global Head of Brand, Raffles Hotels & Resorts
Based in New York City, Claudia will report directly to Omer Acar, CEO, Raffles & Orient Express, effective 31 July 2023. Claudia will lead Raffles’ global network of 18 hotels plus many more under development including Raffles London at The OWO and Raffles Boston which are both set to debut later this summer. She will also represent Orient Express in the Americas, where her professional reputation and achievements in luxury retail and hospitality will help enhance the positioning of both brands in the ultra-luxury segment. Claudia joins Accor following a 30-year career of leadership roles with coveted brands such as The Beverly Wilshire Hotel; Rafael Hotel Group; Société des Bains de Mer (Monaco); The Leading Hotels of the World; Gucci; Christian Dior; and Loro Piana. A graduate of Georgetown University, Claudia is fluent in English, French, Italian, and Spanish.

Edouard Schwob, Senior Vice President, Development, Luxury Americas and Global Raffles & Orient Express
Edouard will be based in New York City, jointly reporting to Omer Acar, CEO Raffles & Orient Express and Agnès Roquefort, Chief Development Officer, Luxury & Lifestyle, Accor, effective 17 July 2023. Edouard’s wealth of experience in high-profile hotel acquisitions and expertise in asset management will help drive targeted growth of Accor’s ultra-luxury brands. Edouard joins the Raffles & Orient Express team from Jones Lang LaSalle Hotels & Hospitality Group, where he served as Executive Vice President of Strategic Advisory & Asset Management. Edouard holds a Master of Science in Management from the City University of London, UK, and a Master of Science in Business from ESCP Europe in Paris, France. Fluent in English, Spanish, and French, he is also a certified LEED Green Associate since 2012 and a member of the RICS (Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors).


Guy Heywood, Senior Vice President, Operations, Raffles & Orient Express
Based in New York City, Guy will report directly to Omer Acar, CEO, Raffles & Orient Express, as of 10 July 2023. With a wealth of luxury hospitality experience accumulated over three decades, Guy has worked with celebrated luxury brands such as Four Seasons, Aman and Six Senses. As the head of operations, Guy will bring to Raffles & Orient Express his demonstrated ability to cultivate an enhanced customer experience and will look to further enhance and elevate the positioning of both brands. Known for his focus on innovation and sensitivity in creating luxury guest experiences that foster deep brand loyalty, Guy’s leadership and charisma will help enhance the delivery and culture of these two iconic brands.  Guy has an Associate Degree in Hospitality Management from Cornell University.

Kristen Richter, Senior Vice President, Commercial, Raffles & Orient Express
Based in New York City, Kristen will report directly to Omer Acar, CEO, Raffles & Orient Express, as of 14 August 2023. Kristen brings 20 years of experience leading hospitality revenue management, sales, distribution, analytics, and reservations teams. Her career began in revenue management at New York City’s iconic Waldorf-Astoria hotel, followed by 11 years with Wyndham Hotels & Resorts as SVP, Global Revenue Management. Kristen served as SVP & Chief Commercial Officer for Radisson Hotel Group, Americas, before moving to hospitality disruptor Sonder to become VP, Head of Global Sales. Kristen has a Bachelor of Science in Business from Bucknell University and an MBA from Fairleigh Dickinson University.

Anne Bénichou, Vice-President, Global Communications, Partnerships & Retail, Raffles & Orient Express
Effective 28 August 2023, Anne will report directly to Omer Acar, CEO, Raffles & Orient Express. Based in Paris, Anne will spearhead impactful new initiatives across the communications, partnerships and retail disciplines for the two ultra-luxury brands, while ensuring brand consistency on a global scale. Anne’s career began in the luxury fashion industry with eight years at Vogue USA and Vogue Italia. She went on to serve as Director of Communications at Ritz Paris for nearly nine years, before becoming Head of Global Communications for the Oetker Collection of luxury boutique hotels. Anne joins Raffles & Orient Express from her most recent role as Head of Marketing and Communications at Maisons Pariente.

Nathalie Delclos, Vice President, Global Spa & Wellness, Raffles & Orient Express
Effective 31 August 2023, Nathalie will report to Guy Heywood, Senior Vice President, Operations, Raffles & Orient Express. Based in Paris, Nathalie will oversee the spa strategy and wellness initiatives for both brands while upholding global well-being standards. Nathalie joins Raffles & Orient Express from her most recent role as Spa Director at Ritz Paris. Her career began with Chef Gordon Ramsay at his London restaurant, Aubergine. Nathalie went on to work with numerous luxury hospitality brands, including Relais et Châteaux, Four Seasons, Spa Thémaé, and Hotel George V Palace Four Seasons in Paris, where she spent seven years overseeing the hotel’s spa.